Would I be helped?:Cross-national CCTV footage shows that intervention is the norm in public conflicts

Philpot, Richard and Liebst, Lasse Suonperä and Levine, Mark and Bernasco, Wim and Lindegaard, Marie Rosenkrantz (2020) Would I be helped?:Cross-national CCTV footage shows that intervention is the norm in public conflicts. American Psychologist, 75 (1). pp. 66-75. ISSN 0003-066X

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Abstract

Half a century of research on bystander behavior concludes that individuals are less likely to intervene during an emergency when in the presence of others than when alone. By contrast, little is known regarding the aggregated likelihood that at least someone present at an emergency will do something to help. The importance of establishing this aggregated intervention baseline is not only of scholarly interest but is also the most pressing question for actual public victims—will I receive help if needed? The current article describes the largest systematic study of real-life bystander intervention in actual public conflicts captured by surveillance cameras. Using a unique cross-national video dataset from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and South Africa (N = 219), we show that in 9 of 10 public conflicts, at least 1 bystander, but typically several, will do something to help. We record similar likelihoods of intervention across the 3 national contexts, which differ greatly in levels of perceived public safety. Finally, we find that increased bystander presence is related to a greater likelihood that someone will intervene. Taken together these findings allay the widespread fear that bystanders rarely intervene to help. We argue that it is time for psychology to change the narrative away from an absence of help and toward a new understanding of what makes intervention successful or unsuccessful.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
American Psychologist
Additional Information:
©American Psychological Association, 2019. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000469
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200
Subjects:
ID Code:
134891
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
22 Jun 2019 09:20
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
26 May 2020 08:01