Factors Surrounding the Murder of Kitty Genovese
-Number of Witnesses
The Bystander Effect
Homecoming Gang Rape in California
Working Hypothesis 1
The murder of Kitty Genovese is well known in the field of psychology. Her murder has inspired research on the bystander effect. The bystander effect is believed to explain why the witnesses didn’t intervene. This is a oversimplified explanation. The bystander effect had a much smaller effect on the witness than previously believed. Their were far less witness than what is widely believed and it is likely they didn’t know or understand what was happening. The timing also affected the way the witnesses acted. Getting woken up in the middle of the night means that they wouldn’t have normal brain functions. People that are sleep deprived are cognitively impaired and have lower levels of empathy. The gang rape in California provides a much stronger case for the bystander effect. The witnesses had a good view of the rape and fully understood the situation. They could have easily made a phone call and stopped the rape. There is no other explanation for their actions other than the bystander effect.
Working Hypothesis 2
I could take a more extreme stance and try to disprove the bystander effect entirely. I would need to find a flaw in the smoke filled room experiment and come up with an explanation for the gang rape.
I could write about how the bystander effect is used to wrongly explain the Kitty Genovese Murder. This might be too close to my main argument.
Cause and Effect Argument
I could talk about how the relationship between the police and their community impacts the how many crimes are reported and how much their community trusts them. The police highly criticized during the civil rights movements. They took steps to try to strengthen their relationship with their community. There was also police corruption that weakened trust.
A common argument is that 38 people were aware of the murder. In reality, the number was closer to 7 and those 7 were not sure what was going on.
Current State of Research Paper
My research is still lacking but I believe there is plenty of evidence. The Rowan wifi has been down all day which stopped any research I can do and made this white paper less developed than I planned. Now that it is back up, I can get back to researching and add to this paper.
Single Cause with a Single Effect (X causes Y)
The bystander effect caused the high school rape to be unreported by students.
Single Cause with Several Effects (X causes Y and Z)
Police corruption causes people to not trust the police, lower crime rates due to people to reporting crimes, …
Several Causes for a Single Effect (Both X and Y cause Z)
Ignorance of the severity of the situation, sleep deprivation, sexism, etc caused less people to report the Kitty Genovese murder.
A Causal Chain (X causes Y, which causes Z)
Sleep deprivation impairs cognitive function and empathy which caused people to not check to see if Kitty was in trouble and then call the police.
Causation Fallacy (X does not cause Y)
The bystander effect says that the number of bystanders is inversely related to the likelihood of someone helping. More people do not necessarily cause less people to help, it is just a correlation.
I think if I did any of the first three I would be repeating too much information from my first essay and I wouldn’t have anything new to bring to the final essay. I think I could write something interesting about the effects of sleep deprivation and find some examples of its effects on people.
The content and analysis in this article seem pretty sketchy, but the fact that the “common knowledge” reaction to stories like this one is always reliably to cite “the bystander effect” makes it ripe for rebuttal. How valid are the conclusions drawn by this author (and the author’s sources)?