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Would Kitty Genovese have been murdered in Second Life? Researching the "bystander effect" using online technologies

King, Tanya J., Warren, Ian and Palmer, Darren 2008, Would Kitty Genovese have been murdered in Second Life? Researching the "bystander effect" using online technologies, in TASA 2008 : Re-imagining sociology : the annual conference of The Australian Sociological Association, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic., pp. 1-23.

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Title Would Kitty Genovese have been murdered in Second Life? Researching the "bystander effect" using online technologies
Author(s) King, Tanya J.
Warren, IanORCID iD for Warren, Ian orcid.org/0000-0001-8355-118X
Palmer, DarrenORCID iD for Palmer, Darren orcid.org/0000-0001-6675-1155
Conference name Australian Sociological Association. Conference (2008 : Melbourne, Vic.)
Conference location Melbourne, Vic.
Conference dates 2-5 December 2008
Title of proceedings TASA 2008 : Re-imagining sociology : the annual conference of The Australian Sociological Association
Editor(s) Majoribanks,T.
Barraket, J.
Cahng, J-S.
Dawson, A.
Guillemin, M.
Henry-Waring, M.
Kenyon, A.
Kokanovic, R.
Lewis, J.
Lusher, D.
Nolan, D.
Pyett, P.
Warr, D.
Robins, R.
Wyn, J.
Publication date 2008
Conference series Australian Sociological Association Conference
Start page 1
End page 23
Total pages 23
Publisher University of Melbourne
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Keyword(s) Second Life
‘bystander effect'
regulation
social research
Summary The increasing use of online technologies, including ‘virtual worlds’ such as Second Life, provides sociology with a transformed context within which to ply creative research approaches to ongoing social issues, such as the ‘bystander effect’. While the ‘bystander effect’ was coined following a real-life incident, the concept has been researched primarily through laboratory-based experiments. The relationship between ‘virtual’ and ‘real’ world environments and human behaviours are, however, unclear and warrant careful attention and research.

In this paper we outline existing literature on the applicability of computer-simulated activity to real world contexts. We consider the potential of Second Life as a research environment in which ‘virtual’ and ‘real’ human responses are potentially more blurred than in real-life or a laboratory setting. We describe preliminary research in which unsolicited Second Life participants faced a situation in which they could have intervened. Our findings suggest the existence of a common perception that formal regulators were close at hand, and that this contributed to the hesitation of some people to personally intervene in the fraught situation. In addition to providing another angle on the ‘bystander effect’, this research contributes to our understanding of how new technologies might enable us to conduct social research in creative ways.
Notes Reproduced with the specific permission of the copyright owner.
ISBN 9780734039842
Language eng
Field of Research 160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
Copyright notice ©2008, The authors
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30018201

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.