In 5 Years

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Bystander Nonintervention.jpg

In five years, the concept of Bystander Non-intervention will stick with me more than anything else. While most people think that there is safety in numbers, the truth is that large groups of people are less likely to help somebody in need. This is due primarily to Pluralistic Ignorance (thinking that nobody else sees things as we do) and to Diffusion of Responsibility (feeling less responsibility in the presence of others). It is crazy to think that people will let something terrible happen just because there are many other people around who are doing nothing.


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Is it all that crazy though? I mean we see it everyday when we sit in class and the professor asks a question that no one answers or even tries. Diffusion of responsibility works it magic thinking someone else will answer and that you don't hold responsibility for answering the question. So next time the professor asks a question, will you answer?

For answering questions in class, for me at least, it usually comes down to two things: 1. Do I really know the right answer? Do I want to risk semi-embarrassing myself if it's wrong? 2. (If I DO know the answer a lot) Do I want to be "that girl" that always answers the questions? Won't the professor (and everyone else) then expect me to always contribute and hold me to a higher expectation? (hey, it's the truth). In this specific case, I think it usually is between embarrassment and laziness. The ultimate theme here, however, is responsibility. Do I want the responsibility of answering that question? This is the same when it comes to other group situations, like a car accident.

I have to agree with you Sarah. It is not so much that I believe that other people will answer the question for me and that I depend on them for responsibility, it is more that I am usually not confident enough in my answer to answer the question in front of a lecture hall full of people. I do think this is something to think about in other situations, especially situations you would not think of. If someone gets hurt in a park, who would be the one to help them? That is where think diffusion of responsibility and pluralistic ignorance is mostly exemplified. Great Post!

In terms of the in-class answering I agree with the above comments that in most classes the more people that there are, the less likely they will take the risk to answer the question. However, in terms of accidents and abductions where a group of people witness it I find these situations much more mind boggling.

I agree with, I wrote about it too, and I just found it appalling that nobody helped the people in the situations described in our textbook. I know it talks about the reasons behind not helping, but it said we are most likely to help when were alone and when we truly know its an emergency, and I think in the case of the women getting stabbed in New York, everyone knew it was one.

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This page contains a single entry by shimo035 published on May 1, 2012 9:07 PM.

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