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NCJ Number: 67218 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: ROLE OF COMMITMENTS IN THE DECISION TO STOP A THEFT
Journal: JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY  Volume:110  Dated:(APRIL 1980)  Pages:183-192
Author(s): L SCHWARZ; K JENNINGS; J PETRILLO; R F KIDD
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Health, Education, and Welfare
Rockville, MD 20857
Grant Number: MH 32132-01
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE RESULTS OF THIS FIELD EXPERIMENT SHOWED THAT DIRECT, FIRST-PARTY COMMITMENTS TO THE VICTIM OF THE THEFT LED TO GREATER BYSTANDER INTERVENTION THAN NO COMMITMENT OR SECOND-PARTY COMMITMENTS.
Abstract: A FIELD EXPERIMENT WAS CONDUCTED TO TEST THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PREVIOUS COMMITMENTS TO A THEFT VICTIM AND A BYSTANDER'S WILLINGNESS TO STOP THE THIEF. A POCKET CALCULATOR WAS STOLEN IN FRONT OF BYSTANDERS. IN ONE CIRCUMSTANCE, THE BYSTANDER WAS PREVIOUSLY COMMITTED TO WATCH THE VICTIM'S CALCULATOR (FIRSTPARTY COMMITMENT). IN A SECOND CIRCUMSTANCE, THE BYSTANDER MADE A COMMITMENT TO THE VICTIM TO WATCH THE BELONGINGS OF ANOTHER STUDENT WHO EARLIER HAD BEEN SEATED NEARBY (SECOND-PARTY COMMITMENT). THERE WAS ALSO A THIRD, NONCOMMITMENT GROUP. A TOTAL OF 67 PERCENT OF THE SUBJECTS INTERVENED TO KEEP THE CALCULATOR FROM BEING STOLEN. THEY WERE: 100 PERCENT OF THE SUBJECTS IN THE FIRST-PARTY COMMITMENT GROUP, 60 PERCENT IN THE SECOND-PARTY COMMITMENT GROUP, AND 40 PERCENT IN THE NO-COMMITMENT GROUP. THE DIRECT, FIRST-PARTY COMMITMENTS TO THE VICTIM OF A THEFT LED TO GREATER BYSTANDER INTERVENTION. THE TWO-PARTY SITUATION WAS APPARENTLY MORE COGNITIVELY COMPLEX AND CONFUSING FOR BYSTANDERS TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THEIR RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES, THAN FIRST-PARTY COMMITMENTS, WHICH WERE LESS AMBIGUOUS AND MORE EASILY UNDERSTOOD AS REQUIRING ACTION. REFERENCES, AND TABULAR DATA ARE INCLUDED. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED)
Index Term(s): Behavioral science research; Larceny/Theft; Witness intervention in crime
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