Secondary bystandership: how primary bystanders influence the subsequent responses of others
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The aim of this thesis is providing new insights into the social influence processes that take place between bystanders. Specifically, this manuscript presents research that explores whether the perception of group norms is the key process that allows bystanders’ actions to influence the subsequent behaviour of other bystanders. This question is addressed with a multi-method approach. Studies 1 and 2 are online-survey experiments conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom (UK). They suggest that seeing ingroup members looking after others does not promote bystanders’ willingness to do the same when group norms already prescribe helping. Studies 3, 4, and 5 are online-survey experiments focused on Britons’ willingness to help asylum seekers and refugees. These studies suggest that when whether to help and how to help are contested issues, active bystandership inspires further solidarity. This phenomenon involves normative influence but also other processes, such as the perceived seriousness of the situation and bystanders’ sense of self-efficacy. Finally, Study 6 is an interview study conducted during a harshly repressed social uprising in Chile. This study shows that the shape and magnitude of social influence between bystanders vary over the evolution of emergencies. This thesis argues that bystandership involves complex sense-making processes where the behaviour of other bystanders is one of multiple tools that bystanders can use to conclude what is happening, what should be done, whether they should help, and what they are capable of. Their conclusions may also be informed by other inputs, such as lessons from their personal and social history, their social identities, pre-existing group norms, and the resources and skills that they have. Thus, social influence between bystanders is presented here as a phenomenon shaped by history, time, reflexive processes, and socially mediated perceptions of reality.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internationalhttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Embargo Date: 2028-10-31
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Restricted until 31st October 2028
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