The Bystander Effect In The Murder Of Kitty Genovese

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The statement ‘People never intentionally act to benefit others except only to obtain some good for themselves’ is stating that we as humans only help one another to get something in return. This statement implies why there is no such thing as ‘true’ Altruism. For centuries we have wondered why another would help someone who is in pain or suffering from something. Over the years Psychologists have come up with many theories to try to determine why humans help other humans, but first an understanding of the basics of good deeds and definitions must be understood. The term Altruism is derived from the Latin words Alteri Huic, these words translate as ‘to this other’. Over centuries the definition of Altruism itself has not really changed too…show more content…
Not one of the bystanders called the police or intervened in the killing of Kitty Genovese. From this brutal murder the theory of the Bystander or more commonly known as Bystanderisim. This theory was conceived by John Darley and Bibb Latané aims to articulate why these ‘bystanders’ didn’t intervene in the murder of Kitty Genovese. This theory states that ‘The bystander effect occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation’ (Latané & Darley, 1964 in Psychology Today, 2015). This theory has two integral parts Perceived diffusion of responsibility and Social Influence. ‘Perceived diffusion of responsibility is defined as the bystander is more likely to help if there are fewer people around them to observe them help and provide help themselves. Due to there being more people around the Bystander will conclude that because no-one has helped there is nothing wrong and that they should just keep walking along and do nothing to help. In the case of Kitty Genovese this perceived diffusion of responsibility is proved by the fact that over 30 people did not stop to help Kitty and they most likely thought that another person would help and do something to stop the savage act that was occurring right…show more content…
This theory is based on the fact that people help others because we as humans have an innate desire to help others who are going through pain. This theory is supported my a great many experimental studies. This theory touches upon the fact that people help others because they have an inherent need to help people that is hard-wired into their biology as human beings. While this theory is backed up by experiments it is hard to generalise the findings in every day life. According to this theory Altruism can only occur if the other person’s perspective is taken, this is where the title Empathy-Altruism comes from. So according to this theory you must be able to empathise with the sufferer and place your self in their situation. Empathetic concern is also another factor that plays a large role in explaining why people help others. Empathetic concern is defined as ‘positive emotions like sympathy or compassion’ (Bateson, 1981). Personal Distress is also a contributing factor to why people help others. Personal Distress can be described as a “general term used to describe unpleasant feelings or emotions that impact your level of functioning” (Yolanda Williams, 2015 in Empathy evokes altruistic behaviour to lessen another person’s suffering whereas personal distress is an egoistic motivation to

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