The Death of Kitty Genovese: A Case that Echoes to This Day

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The 1965 murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens first alerted people to what became known as the “bystander effect.” The original reporting, by The New York Times, that her death was witnessed by 38 persons who did nothing, was eventually debunked, but the story has still resonated as a parable about the callousness of urban living, says Harold Takooshian, Ph.D., professor of psychology.

He talks about why the Genovese case continues to resonate today, and what psychologists have learned about the “bystander effect.”

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