in Psychology

Human psychology is a fascinating subject especially when it comes to strange behaviors that we show sometimes. Take for instance the Bystander effect. Suppose you are in a crowded place and you meet with an accident, in that emergency situation you would expect more number of people to come to help you but countless experiments have proven the opposite. The greater the number of observers, the less likely it is that one of them will help you, often called as Diffusion of responsibility. You have to simply lie there dying or stand up and run to the nearest hospital yourself, So the lesser the number of observers the higher is the likelihood of someone helping you.

This concept became popular in 1964 following the infamous brutal murder of a young women named Kitty Genovese in Kew Gardens, New York.

Kitty Genovese

She was stabbed to death outside her apartment three times and despite her repeated calls for help, none of the people in the neighborhood or around who heard her came for help or tried calling the police.

Social psychologists Latane and Darley attributed this behavior to two reasons –
1. The diffusion of responsibility – As there are many observers, individuals do not feel pressurize to take action as they feel that this responsibility needs to be shared among everyone present there.

2. Social influence – If anyone is not taking any action everyone starts to feel its not a socially acceptable behavior to react and that a response is not needed or not appropriate.

Another classic example of Bystander effect can be noticed in group projects of schools or colleges where there is almost always that one guy or girl who refuses to contribute to the project till the very end.

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