The Bystander Effect

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Reading the psych book, the stories of the bystander effect shocked me. The bystander effect is an aspect of social psychology in which individuals do not help or offer assistance to a victim while there are others present as well. Also, the greater number of bystanders, the less help that will be given by anyone present.
I find this topic intriguing, and I believe I will remember it five years from now, because of the appalling nature of it. I can't believe that the more people there are, that the less likely an individual will be able to obtain help. In addition, I found it stuck in my mind especially because I work as a lifeguard and would like to think that even outside of work I would notice someone in trouble and would offer help. And if I would, wouldn't others as well? How can someone with training or even just a nice person not help someone in need?
I remember when I was taking my lifeguard certification classes our instructor showed us a video that demonstrated the bystander effect in a lifeguard setting. In a pool at a camp, all the counselors and kids were in the pool and it was packed. The lifeguards were also on duty. A kid was lying face-down in the water, and after 30 seconds, he still hadn't resurfaced. The lifeguards were still scanning the water, and probably assumed he was simply floating on his front. After a minute, he still hadn't been spotted, and there was even a counselor who kept bumping into him but also thought he was just fooling around. None of the lifeguards, counselors, or other campers recognized that the kid was drowning and unconscious. There were so many people and they did not see the signs of trouble or simply chose to ignore them.
I think the general public should be more thoroughly educated about this phenomenon as it might shock people and motivate them to be on the look-out for endangered individuals more actively and prevent awful incidences from occurring.
Here is an experiment they did to find out how the public reacted to the abduction of a little girl:

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This page contains a single entry by samps196 published on December 4, 2011 8:39 PM.

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