The Bystander Effect

By Mandy Singleton

In class, we discussed “The Bystander Effect.” The Bystander Effect is a statistic of more people being present at the scene of an incident causes less of a reaction to help the injured person.  During the discussion, I found the number of people around during an incident greatly affects the reactions of others interesting.  According to Bystander Apathy Experiment, one of our available classroom resources, it says the higher the number of people around, the less likely it is that someone will help out the person who is having problems.  According to two students who conducted a social psychology experiment, one reasonable explanation for this lack of reaction is diffusion of responsibility.  According to them, in large groups, people believe others will step forward to help a person making them feel less responsible to help.  Another possible explanation is pluralistic ignorance.  This is the thought process of “since everyone else is not reacting to the emergency; my personal help is not needed.” If people were alone during an accident, they would feel more obligated to help because they don’t have anyone else to turn to.

Have you ever been a witness to The Bystander Effect?  If so, what did you notice about the actions of others around and the amount of people at the scene.  Please comment with any experiences you have had.

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