Brother’s Bystander Effect Study

My brother came by my house yesterday to discuss a project he is starting soon in his undergraduate psychology course.  His professor wants him to replicate a similar study on some psychological phenomena.  He chose the bystander effect because of the simplicity of measurement, well supposedly.  The bystander effect, says that the more people in an area to observe a non normative behavior, the less likely they are to approach the perpetrator.  My brother is planning to purposefully miss a trash can with a bottle, and immediately sit in close proximity to his littering.  He will record if there are any responses from the participants, the number of participants, and then go about his day.

The problem comes in the fact that when he makes a particular observation by littering, he will be actually measuring multiple people.  The likelihood that a participant responds to his littering should be greater since there are more people in the study.  The bystander effect says that this will not be true because the sampling population is larger.  It will be interesting to see his data and how the bystander effect will be shown.  As of now, for simplicity sake, I will encourage him to treat each littering experience as one observation.  The problem of multiple participants in the study in one observation makes the study slightly complicated.  It seems like the actual bystander effect shouldn’t need any modification for this, but I think similar studies should have discussed this.

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