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Does Danger Level Affect Bystander Intervention in Real-Life Conflicts?: Evidence From CCTV Footage

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/05/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Social Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number4
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)795-802
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date9/09/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In real-life violence, bystanders can take an active role in de-escalating conflict and helping others. Recent meta-analytical evidence of experimental studies suggests that elevated danger levels in conflicts facilitate bystander intervention. However, this finding may lack ecological validity because ethical concerns prohibit exposing participants to potentially harmful situations. Using an ecologically valid method, based on an analysis of 80 interpersonal conflicts unobtrusively recorded by public surveillance cameras, the present study confirms that danger is positively associated with bystander intervention. In the presence of danger, bystanders were 19 times more likely to intervene than in the absence of danger. It extends this knowledge by discovering that incremental changes in the severity level of the danger (low, medium, and high), however, were not associated with bystander intervention. These findings confirm the importance of further investigating the role of danger for bystander intervention, in larger samples, and involving multiple types of real-life emergencies.