Individual in Groups

Topics: Social loafing, Thought, Psychology Pages: 2 (477 words) Published: February 16, 2011
According to Carol Travris in “Individuals in Groups,” people behave differently when faced with danger when they are alone than when they are in groups. Psychologists believe that the cause of this phenomenon is that people always think there are others who will take the responsibility instead of themselves. This particular idea people have when they are in groups called “diffusion of responsibility” or “social loafing.” In my opinion, the “social loafing” has caused a lot of troubles and leaded the society into a dangerous and desperate situation.

I think Travris hits the nail on the head when she states that people, “if they are in a group observing the same danger, they hold back.” It reminds me of an article I read in the “New York Times” a couple of months ago. It reported that a Chinese girl was found raped and brain dead on the main street in Flushing. It was 2:30pm. What shocked me was that the surveillance tape which was taken by the supermarket nearby showed that there were several witnesses who saw the tragedy as it was happening. However, no one intervened or even called the police until the criminal ran away. In fact, they “hold back”. Later on, when a reporter interviewed one of those witnesses, he claimed that he thought there must have been someone who had already called for help and he felt terrible that he did not call the police at that time. After I read “Individuals in Groups,” I could not help wondering whether the tragedy would have happened at all if there was only one person who had witnessed the accident.

Moreover, the “diffusion of responsibility” can also put kids in danger. One of my friends’ daughters broke her arm when she was five years old. I was surprised because I knew that my friend was a really careful mother who would never let her daughter out of her sight. However, she told me that she and her parents together took the little girl to the park that day. She thought her parents would keep an eye on the girl while she...
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