Intervene to be seen: The power of a camera in attenuating the bystander effect

M. van Bommel, J.W. van Prooijen, H. Elffers, P.A.M. van Lange

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Security cameras became such a part of everyday life that their presence may escape from our conscious attention. The present research examines the impact of cameras on intervening in crime, a situation in which the classic bystander effect has been uncovered. In our experimental set up, participants witnessed how another participant (a confederate) stole money, in the presence of either two or no other bystanders. Moreover, we used a security camera to make people feel watched. We expected to replicate the bystander effect without security camera's presence and an attenuation of the bystander effect with a security camera present. As expected, the findings revealed that without a camera, participants were less likely to stop our confederate from stealing money when other bystanders were present. However, when there was a camera present this effect was attenuated: The camera increased intervention when people are otherwise least likely to help-when other bystanders are present. © The Author(s) 2013.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-466
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Psychological & Personality Science
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Intervene to be seen: The power of a camera in attenuating the bystander effect'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this