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Kitty Genovese Revisited

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Earlier this week in my Intro Psych course, we were knee-deep in the social psych chapter when a student asked about Kitty Genovese. The standard story reported in most Intro Psych textbooks turns out to be not quite the whole story. While we know that the bystander effect exists and we know what factors increase the likelihood of the bystander effect occurring, there's much more to Genovese's murder than 38 uncaring people. I took a deep breath and gave some context to the tale that has become a part of our cultural consciousness.

To expand your own background I recommend starting with the Manning, Levine, and Collins September, 2007 American Psychologist article, The Kitty Genovese murder and the social psychology of helping: The parable of the 38 witnesses.

For a deeper exploration of what happened that night in 1964, check out Kevin Cook's 2014 book Kitty Genovese: The murder, the bystanders, the crime that changed America. If the social psych chapter is coming up faster than you can read, take an hour and watch his 2014 book talk at the Kansas City Public Library.

Video Link : 1560

1 Comment
Community Manager
Community Manager

The story of Kitty Genovese was one of the most interesting examples I recall from social psychology class when I was a student.  I'm definitely going to check out the resources you provided Sue!

About the Author
At Highline College near Seattle, Sue Frantz is working on her third decade in the psychology college classroom. Throughout her career, she has been an early adopter of new technologies in which she saw pedagogical potential. In 2009, she founded her blog, Technology for Academics. The blog features both new tech tools and tips for using not-so-new tools effectively. She currently serves as Vice President for Resources for APA Division 2: Society for the Teaching of Psychology. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the APA award for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at a Two-Year College or Campus. In 2016, she received the Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award. As the newest contributor to the Instructor Resource Manual for the David Myers and Nathan DeWall Introduction to Psychology textbooks, she is excited to bring teaching resources to you in this venue.