Sometimes, "few" is better than "many".

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General people might think it is safer in company of many other than of small number of people. They reason that if there are many people around them, many people would help them when they are in dangerous or emergency situations. However, it turns out that it might be more dangerous in many people than in small number of people. Bystander nonintervention or bystander effect is social psychological phenomenon that occurs when people do not offer any means of help in an emergency situation to the victim when other, especially many, people are present. Two famous cases clearly represent bystander nonintervention and show that being in many numbers can be more dangerous than being in few numbers. On March 13, 1964 28-year-old Catherine Genovese was stabbed near her apartment in New York City. She was screaming and crying for help for about 30 minutes in front of her apartment, no one tried to help her and even did not bother to call the police. According to neighbors, more than 30 of her neighbors heard the scream. On October 23, 2009, a 16-year-old girl was raped by group of people when about 20 bystanders stood and watched. Surprisingly, no one helped her and even called the police even though many of them have cellphones. bystander.jpgDarley and Latane suggested that two main factors explain bystander nonintervention. The first is pluralistic ignorance, which means that people cannot recognize the situation as an emergency because they assume that nobody is responding to the situation. The second is diffusion of responsibility, which means that people feel less responsible when more people are present in the situation. The presence of many other individuals makes them think that other people also can help if they don't help victims. However, I think that it would be safer in many numbers if people in dangerous situation know effective ways to ask for help. First, it is important to let other people know that he or she is in dangerous situation and needs immediate help. Second, one of effective ways to ask for help is to point out directly to nearby bystander and ask for help. It makes not only the pointed bystander recognize the situation but also feel more responsible to help.


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Sadly the bystander effect has resulted in many people in harmful situation being ignored. I agree with you that the more people understand the concept of the bystander effect and are educated in the ways in which they can provide immediate assistance in an emergency situation, the less tragic results will occur.

The bystander effect is interesting to me. You would think that a large crowd would be willing to help a person in danger, but in fact it is better to have a smaller group present. I agree with the fact that people feel less responsible if there are more people around. They feel that someone else will take care of it and they don't have to. It is not a very good situation when everyone has that mindset. I also really liked the suggestions your provided at the end on how to receive help when you're in need.

The two cases that you present represent the bystander effect very effectively. Do you think that one of the root causes of this effect is that people like to be private people? Individuals in our society are constantly trying to keep people people out of their business and to stay away. Thus, our reaction is simply what others have taught us to do: stay away. Just something to think about..

I also agree that the more people understand the bystander effect, the better they can respond to emergency situations. People tend to follow the actions of others, which is why the bystander effect is so predominant. If someone is willing to step up, then I feel that others will be more willing to help out too.

Good examples of how people can counteract the bystander effect. Good recent example as well.

The bystander effect is a very interesting phenomenon. I wonder, however, if some people are more prone to the bystander effect than others. For example, if you were raised in a big city, you might be used to the bystander effect than maybe someone from a smaller town. This concept also reminds me of the tv show "What would you do?" where they have actors play out attention-drawing events in public and see what people do. Personally, I feel like the bystander effect is a legitimate problem, but I also feel like there are generally some people out there who would help out someone no matter how many other people were around.

To me, this is all very interesting. It does not surprise me thought that people are more likely to be helped with fewer people around. For example, If I see a lady fall down, and I am the only person around, of course I am going to help her up. The situation seems more personal, and I would feel it is my duty to help. However, if there are hundreds of people around, and many people see her, the situation depersonalizes and people tend to just keep walking. It is easier to blend in with the crowd.

I strongly agree with this blog.
As title is 'Sometimes, "few" is better than "many"', we see the similar problem with a group project.
When a group has many number of members, there is potential risk that some people might not be involved and not provide any effort into the project. As it is siad, sometimes, few is better than many.

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This page contains a single entry by choi0308 published on April 22, 2012 10:41 PM.

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