Running head: GENDER AND NUMBER OF BYSTANDERS
This study was designed to look at the effects of gender and the number of bystanders on helping behavior. There were 128 participants in this study, compromising of students, faculty and also the general public in the area of Lexington, KY. The experiment was to drop pencils in an elevator when the correct number of bystanders were present to see who helped and who did not. The results of the study showed that the number of bystanders had no impact on whether the student who dropped his or her pencils was helped, however there was significant evidence that men were more likely to help than women.
The Effects of Gender and the Number of Bystanders
on Helping Behavior
In the past decades, a large amount of research has been devoted to examining the connection between gender and helping behavior as well as the number of bystanders in relation to whether it will increase the willingness to help. This is to uncover the relationship between these factors, so people can be more prepared when faced with an emergency to know if they will receive any form of aid. By studying helping behavior, we can come up with ways to increase and promote helping behavior among the general public in order to bring about a caring and helping society.
Stereotypically it is assumed that females would be more helpful than males, since they are perceived to be more expressive, caring and empathetic. This has been supported by a study that examined the effects of perceived costs on helping behavior in a university library (Dovidio, 1982). It was found that on the overall that female students helped more often in response to a request for some change as compared to male students, and this was especially true for situations involving members of the same sex. Tice and Baumeister (1985) who studied potential effects of dispositional sex-role orientation on bystander intervention in emergencies had found that masculinity inhibits helping in emergencies. According to their study, it is personality that predicts the bystander effect. Participants with highly masculine characteristics were less likely to take action to help the victim than were others, fearing potential embarrassment and loss of poise.
Although supported to some extent, there have been several studies that indicate otherwise. An analysis on the effects of gender and dress on helping behavior indicated that women were helped more by other men and than other women. (Long, Mueller, Wyers, Khong, et al.,1996) Nevertheless, no definite line has been drawn to state whether women or men have higher tendencies to help other people the hypothesis that women help more in certain situations when compared to men has been supported. Women were found to score higher than men on low-risk, low-physical-strength helping behaviors, and lower than men on high-risk, high-physical-strength helping behaviors. (Erdle, Sasnom, Cole & Heapy, 1992). Another similar situation where the relationships between gender and modes of helping was studied. Belansky and Boggiano (1994) found that women were more likely to help than men, but more likely to help in a nurturing way than in a problem-solving way.
The other goal of this experiment was to study the bystander effect. Contrary to popular belief that the more people there are during an emergency, the more help would be offered, studies have shown that in real life, the fewer bystanders there are at an emergency situation, the more likely the victim will receive any form of aid. The decreasing probability of an individual offering help in an emergency situation is inversely related to an increase in the size of the group in which he/she witnesses the event (Mishra & Das, 1983). There are several other factors affecting helpfulness, such as personal competency. In the study done by Cramer, McMaster, Bartell and Dragna (1988) on registered nurses and general education students, the responses to the post-emergency questionnaire indicated that at the time of the emergency both high and low-competent students strongly felt that they should do something to help the workman. Yet they lacked confidence in their ability to help the workman and in knowing what steps to take to help. Apart from self competency,