The bystander effect refers to the inhibiting influence of the presence of others on a person's willingness to help someone in need. Researchers have found that, even in an emergency, a bystander is less likely to extend help when he or she is in the real or imagined presence of others than when he or she is alone. Moreover, the number of others is important, such that more bystanders lead to less assistance, although the impact of each additional bystander has a diminishing impact on helping. The bystander effect is well illustrated by the events surrounding the brutal murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964, which had a major impact on bystander intervention research in particular and helping research in general. After summarizing the Kitty Genovese ...

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