(Answered) Review the Bystander Effect

(Answered) Review the Bystander Effect

(Answered) Review the Bystander Effect 150 150 Prisc

Review the Bystander Effect

In 750-1,000 words, define and discuss the ways in which diffusion of responsibility, pluralistic ignorance, and victim effects can influence helping behavior. Include ways social and cultural pressure, and beliefs about “self” affect helping behavior.

Use two to three scholarly sources to support your thinking, your textbook can be used as one of the resources.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide


Sample Answer

Bystander Effect

The term bystander effect describes a situation in which the greater crowds of people present in an emergency or distressing situation, the less likely they are willing to help the victims (Hortensius & de Gelder, 2018). The bystander effect occurs more people discourage individuals from helping in distress or emergencies, such as during an assault against a bully or any other crime. The more the bystanders, the less likely any individual in the group will offer to help a victim in distress. Individuals are therefore more likely to assist in  emergencies or crises when there are few or no other witnesses present (Hortensius & de Gelder, 2018).

Decision Model of Helping

To understand the different decisions that witnesses in an emergency go through before deciding to help, scholars have developed different models. One of these models is the five-stage model by Latané & Darley (Cieciura, 2016). The five-stage model explains why bystanders may sometimes offer help or sometimes refuse to offer help during emergencies. According to Latané & Darley, the five stages that bystanders may go through to make a decision of helping or not helping victims during an emergency include the bystander noticing that something is not right, bystander defining a situation as an emergency, and the bystander assessing their personal responsibility towards the emergency situation (Cieciura, 2016). The fourth step of the decision-making model of helping is that bystanders must decide how to best offer assistance to emergency victims. The fifth step involves bystanders acting on their decision to help the victims of an emergency (Cieciura, 2016). At each stage of the five-stage model, a ‘no’ answer results in bystanders not helping in any way, while a ‘yes’ answer leads individuals closer to offering help for emergency victims. According to Latané & Darley, the decision of a bystander to help maybe inhibited at any step of the five-step process, for instance, if the bystander views a situation as being ambiguous and not as an emergency (Cieciura, 2016).

Explanations of the Occurrence of the Bystander Effect

Over time scholars have presented different explanations of processes that might interfere with the decision of bystanders to help individuals in an emergency situation. These include evaluation apprehension, diffusion of responsibility, and pluralistic ignorance, and confusion of responsibility.

 Diffusion of Responsibility

Definition of responsibility is the tendency of individual bystanders to subjectively divide the personal responsibility to help according to their number. Diffusion of responsibility occurs in cases where duties or responsibilities are shared between groups instead of individuals (Branscombe & Baron, 2016). In cases of emergencies where more than a single person is present, diffusion of responsibility therefore occurs. This results in the moral obligation to assist victims in an emergency falling on a whole group as opposed to individuals. However, the whole group witnesses the emergency. Diffusion of responsibility is also supported by the blame of not helping being shared by group members instead of a single person (Branscombe & Baron, 2016). Finally, diffusion of responsibility occurs as a result of a view that a bystander in a group will assist. Eventually, all bystanders offer no help resulting in the bystander effect in emergencies (Branscombe & Baron, 2016).

Evaluation Apprehension

Evaluation apprehension also contributes to the bystander effect. Evaluation apprehension describes the fear that individuals may feel related to judgement from others when acting publicly. Therefore, individuals witnessing an emergency situation may fear being superseded by superior helpers, facing legal consequences of providing dangerous or inferior assistance or offering unwanted assistance. These reasons make individuals not assist during emergencies (Liebst et al., 2019).

Pluralistic Ignorance 

Pluralistic ignorance also contributes significantly to the bystander effect. Pluralistic ignorance is the tendency of an individual to rely on the reactions of others around them to define ambiguous situations (Branscombe & Baron, 2016). Pluralistic ignorance occurs in cases where individuals do not agree with a certain way of thinking or acting but adhere to it because all the others around them believe in it. Individuals tend to apply pluralistic ignorance as a result of their belief that those around them understand and a given situation better and are afraid of being seen as inadequate (Branscombe & Baron, 2016).

Confusion of Responsibility 

Confusion of responsibility also contributes to the bystander effect. Confusion of responsibility is brought about by fear among individuals that helping victims in emergency situations could make them be viewed as perpetrators (Liebst et al., 2019). Such fear can therefore make individuals not assist in dire and emergency situations.


The bystander effect phenomenon describes a situation in which the greater the number of people that are present in an emergency or distressing situation, the less likely they are willing to help the victims. The bystander effect results from different psychological processes. These include evaluation apprehension, diffusion of responsibility, and pluralistic ignorance, and confusion of responsibility. All these psychological processes inhibit the decisions of bystanders to help in emergency situations.