The Bystander Effect.


From “The Bystander Problem” by the MamaMia Team on, you guessed it!, MamaMia:

“Malcolm Gladwell in his book The Tipping Point talks about the ‘bystander problem’. He writes:

“‘One of the most infamous incidents in New York City history … was the 1964 stabbing death of a young Queens woman by the name of Kitty Genovese. Genovese was chased by her assailant and attacked three times on the street, over the course of half an hour, as thirty-eight of her neighbours watched from their windows. During that time, however, none of the thirty-eight witnesses called the police.’

“At first this horrific case was explained away as being the result of the dehumanising effect of urban life, the fact that the anonymity and alienation of city life makes people hard and unfeeling.  But two New York City psychologists subsequently conducted a series of studies to undrestand what they called the ‘bystander problem’. Gladwell writes:

“‘When people are in a group… responsibility for acting is diffused. They assume that someone else will make the call, or they assume because no one else is acting, the apparent problem… isn’t really a problem.

“‘In the case of Kitty Genovese, then… the lesson is not that no one called despite the fact that thirty-eight people heard her scream; it’s that no one called because thirty-eight people heard her scream.  Ironically had she been attacked on a lonely street with just one witness, she might have lived.’”

I think this relates to “pack mentality”, as in the scene below from Scream 2, as well as “the bystander effect”. What do you think?

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] The Bystander Problem.

Images via the Film Chronicles, 411 Mania, EW.

2 thoughts on “The Bystander Effect.

  1. I don’t know if that scene is in relation to by stander effect, i didn’t take it that the folks in the auidence where aware of the murder going on… i think its more wes & kevin making a comment on people becoming desensitized to violence through film… a big debate subject in the 90’s. still movie scenes can be read in many ways by many people :)

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