our text discusses diffusion of responsibility—a belief that others will help someone, leading to a lessened sense of responsibility and a lower probability of helping. To demonstrate the diffusion of responsibility, when you are at work, on campus, in public, or in some other situation, act as if you need help with some minor problem. For example, you can look around confusedly while holding a map, drop your books or something that will scatter a bit. Do something innocuous and harmless to yourself. Do this a couple of times: once when there are several people present and once when there are only one or two people around.

After you complete these experiments, write down your notes right away. Compose an essay addressing the following points:

§  Describe what you did.

§  Explain the response to the situation when many people were present and when only a few people were present.

§  Discuss whether there were any differences in behavior when many people were present and when few people were present.

§  Discuss if the people’s responses fit with the text’s discussion of the bystander effect. If your demonstration did not work out, explain why you think it might not have.

§  Draw on research from the textbook or another resource to support your answer.

Your response should be at least two pages in length. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying citations.

Social Psychology, Aronson, Wilson & Akert

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