Overcoming the Bystander Effect

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One topic that I have always found to be fascinating in psychology is the bystander effect. The bystander effect is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases where individuals do not offer any means of assistance to those who are in emergency situations when other people are present. The larger the group of people who are witnesses, the less likely anyone is to help the person in need due to a diffusion of responsibility.

I find this topic fascinating primarily because of the fact that I witnessed it first-hand and overcame it when nobody else would. Here's my story:
It was my senior year of high school, and it was a normal morning as usual. I was just talking to my friends before classes started, but then something new happened: a fight broke out. Two women were having an argument that eventually escalated into a all-out, physical fight. There was punching, screaming, and hair-pulling. It looked pretty painful for the both of them. Soon after the fighting began, I noticed that nobody was doing a single thing to stop it. I couldn't believe it at all. I looked at the two women fighting, then I looked at everyone else. It was like everyone was in trance. They were statues unable to move. I finally just went to break up the fight. And even more fascinating than the actual bystander effect that everyone was experiencing was the fact that people started to help AFTER I initially broke up the fight.

Knowing how the bystander effect works is one thing; seeing it unravel before your very eyes is another. It's quite the experience, and it's even more of an experience when you overcome it.


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This page contains a single entry by bajr0003 published on December 4, 2011 4:10 PM.

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