The bystander effect occurs when individuals do not bother to offer help to victims in an emergency situation while other people are also present. As the number of other people present increases, the likeliness of a bystander helping a victim decreases. One of the explanations for this is that with so many others around, individuals feel less responsible to help the victim. Other explanations include pluralistic ignorance and social influence, where individuals monitor the reactions of the rest of the crowd as the norm reaction. One infamous example of the bystander effect occurred in Paris, France in January 2006. Ilan Halimi, a wealthy French Jew, was kidnapped by a group of Moroccans called "The Barbarians" and tortured for 24 days. The kidnappers did this for the sake of receiving a 450,000 euro ransom. Throughout the 24 days of torture, multiple neighbors heard the commotion, but none called the police. Some instead watched and even joined in the torturing. On February 13, Ilan was left outside of Paris, tied to a tree. Body parts were missing and his body was difficult to even recognize. He was found but he died on the way to the hospital. This may be a severe case, but it shows how powerful the bystander effect can be. So what would you do, ignore the cries and fall in with the crowd or be the Good Samaritan?
The Bystander Effect
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