Ten years of research on group size and helping

  • Latane B
  • Nida S
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In the decade following Latane and Darley's publication of the discovery that the presence of other people inhibits an individual from intervening in an emer- gency, numerous researchers have attempted to replicate this finding, extend its range of applicability, and determine what boundary conditions limit it. In the present article, we review both published and unpublished research, with special attention to the nature of the precipitating incident, the ambiguity of the helping situation, laboratory versus field settings, characteristics of the subjects, of the victim, and of other bystanders, and the amount and kinds of communication among bystanders. We conclude that, despite the great diversity of styles, settings, and techniques among the studies, the social inhibition of helping is a remarkably consistent phenomenon; but we identify some conditions under which the effect can be weakened or eliminated. Finally, we explore the implications of these findings for assessing and increasing a victim's likelihood of receiving help.

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  • Bibb Latane

  • Steve Nida

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