Date Presented

Spring 4-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Alisha Walker Marciano, PhD

Second Advisor

Keith Corodimas, PhD

Third Advisor

Dofiald Werner, PhD


Personal Factors that Influence Helping Behaviors The murder of Kitty Genovese played an historic role in promoting research on helping behavior (Manning, Levine & Collins, 2007). For many years research articles, psychology books, and other references about the murder of Kitty Genovese informed people that she was stabbed to death in front of her home while 37 witnesses watched and did not help. However, more recent research has shown that this research was not accurate (Manning, Levine & Collins 2007). There were actually 38 witnesses and some who testified at the murder trial, that at a first glimpse it did not appear as though a murder was taking place. Regardless of the recent article correction about the murder, numerous people still believe the story that has been told for many years. They wonder what caused these 37 witnesses to watch a murder and do nothing to stop it. Some blame was attributed to the bystander effect, diffusion of responsibility, and pluralistic ignorance, which are all factors that can determine a persons helping behavior (Manning, Levine & Collins, 2007).