Kitty Genovese was returning from work in the early hours, and she was being followed by an attacker, Winston Mosely.
The killer stabbed Kitty 4 times. When Kitty screamed loudly, it was estimated by police 38 people became eye or ear witnesses, yet only one man attempted to warn off the attacker by yelling.
Psychologists Jane and Irving Pilavin as well as Judith Rodin were shocked by the bystander apathy displayed in this murder.
Aim: To study bystanders' behaviour in a natural setting. They also wanted to investigate the effect of 4 situational variables on helping behaviour or 'good samaritanism'.
Team of 4 Columbia General Studies students position themselves in specific locations at different doors on the subway.
One victim was black and the other 3 were white between the ages of 26 and 35. On the first 38 trials all smelled of liquor and carried a liquor bottle wrapped tightly in a brown bag (drunk condition). The other 65 trails they appeared sober and walked with a cane (cane condition).