Bystander Effect

Topics: Bystander effect, Person, The Help Pages: 2 (732 words) Published: March 5, 2014
 Let’s begin our topic with a simple question. Will you be willing to give a hand if you see someone in trouble? It seems most people would say “yes”, attributing to the education they received from their parents, schools, and the society. We have always been taught to be ready to help others, right? However, things are different when they come to reality. In 1964, a young woman called Genovese was stabbed by a man near her apartment. She cried for help, but none of the people in the neighborhood who heard her voice called police until it was half an hour after the first attack. Why did those people refuse to help? Researchers find that “The greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress”(Cherry, par.1), and that phenomenon is named bystander effect, which is related to the process for an individual to help: noticing, interpretation, and taking responsibility. First of all, individuals are less likely to take notice of their surroundings when they are with a group of people than when they are alone. In a 1968 experiment, students from Columbia University were asked to complete a questionnaire in a room. Some students worked alone, while others were divided into groups with two strangers. Then smoke was led into the room. Students who were alone and often looked around noticed the smoke almost in a second, whereas students who sat with others took a longer time. This happened because in many cultures, it is impolite to stare at other people. As a result, people with companions pay more attention to themselves instead of looking around at others. In contrast, people are more likely to observe their environments and notice someone in trouble when they are alone. Second, after noticing, bystanders incline to interpret the incident as non-emergencies. This occurs because an individual usually observes others first to see if they consider the incident as an emergency, and then the observer shall decide...


References: 1. Cherry, Kendra. “The Bystander Effect: Why Bystanders Sometimes Fail to Help”. About. 23 Nov. 2013 .
2. “Bystander Effect”. Answers. 23 Nov. 2013 .
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