Bystander Effect

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Social psychology has always been interesting to me. There have been at least a couple situations in my life where I have seen something bad happen to someone and everyone in the area either ignored it, or just stood there like deer in headlights. I now realize that I too was one of those bystanders who didn't do anything because I didn't know what to do. Most people don't realize they're doing it which is what creates danger in numbers. The book explains that this effect is sort of a "psychological paralysis" in which people in an emergency situation want to help or intervene, but they just find themselves frozen. I never really knew why this phenomenon occurred until the topic came up in this class. Some possible explanations are pluralistic ignorance which is the error of assuming that no one in the group perceives things as we do; that we are the only ones who interpret the situation as an emergency, but since nobody else does it must not be. Another is the diffusion of responsibility: since we're not the only one around, we feel less responsible for the outcome. I think this concept will stick around with me just because it's so shocking and even a little disturbing. I hope that now that I am aware of this effect, I will be able to be the one to step up and help out when faced with an emergency situation in a group.

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Wow, I had never thought about it, but in fact I have seen it too - the psychological paralysis I mean. It is nice that it is something normal and others have seen it also!London

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This page contains a single entry by olsso022 published on December 5, 2011 9:39 PM.

Remembering Selective Attention was the previous entry in this blog.

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