Provoked by the knowledge of the death of Kitty Genovese in 1964, research has been conducted to better understand the motivations behind the bystander effect. Previous research suggests that female victims are more likely to receive help than males; it is also known that some of the Big Five personality traits are correlated with helping behavior, but their combination has not been examined. Seventy-five students participated in this study with ages ranging from 18 to 23 years old. The participants signed up for a psychology experiment and then witnessed the theft of an iPod. The behavior of the participants was recorded, and then they filled out a questionnaire. One analysis showed that female victims were helped significantly more often than males, but this was not confirmed in all analyses. Some weak trends for the bystander effect were found, but these effects were not confirmed statistically. Level of intervention did have a significant correlation with extraversion. It was concluded that bystanders who are more impulsive, outgoing and active (characteristics of extraversion) are more likely to intervene; females are more likely to be helped, and a more naturalistic setting is be more likely to demonstrate the bystander effect in college students.


Thompson, Claudia



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2007 Kelly G. Fredrickson