This research was conceived and conducted as a masters thesis by the first author under the supervision of the second author.
Induced Competence and the Bystander Effect1
Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 12, Issue 2, pages 100–111, April 1982
How to Cite
Pantin, H. M. and Carver, C. S. (1982), Induced Competence and the Bystander Effect. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 12: 100–111. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1982.tb00852.x
- Issue online: 31 JUL 2006
- Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Previous research has shown that people are slower to offer help in an emergency when there are other bystanders present than when there are not. It was proposed that exposing subjects to information about treatment of medical emergencies (i.e., experimentally-induced competence) would decrease this effect. Female college students either did or did not watch a series of public-service films on medical emergencies under the pretext of evaluating the films' relative effectiveness. Three weeks later, subjects participated in an experiment in which an ostensible co-subject experienced a choking fit and then fell silent. Subjects who had not viewed the films were slower to respond if they believed themselves to be in 6-member groups than if they believed themselves to be in 2-member groups. In contrast, subjects who had viewed the films responded quickly regardless of perceived group size. High competent subjects also responded more quickly than low competent subjects in a condition where another co-subject gave evidence of being high in competence. Results from a 6-week follow-up group indicated, however, that the induced competence was not permanent. Discussion centers on the theoretical implications of the findings.