Would you help a stranger?

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The bystander effect occurs when individuals do not offer any means of help in an emergency situation to the victim when other people are present at the scene. Often people believe that it is safe to be in the company of others in a dangerous situation. For example, let's say that a few 13-year-old girls want to go to the mall by themselves. The way that they plead with their parents is by saying, "We will be okay, and there are hundreds of people around us. Nobody will hurt us." Parents sometimes agree and think that it is safe since there are so many people around and nothing bad will happen to their kids. However, the bystander effect proves that this is not always true. What if a child predator in the mall parking lot swooped up the three girls? What would you do in that situation? Would you rush and help and call 911 or would you just assume that someone else had already called the police so therefore it's not your responsibility? Many would think that since there is dozens of people around, somebody else would take action. However, the bystander effect proves that wrong. There has been much research that has found that people are less likely to take action in these instances when there are a lot of other people present. According to our textbook, there are two factors that explain bystander nonintervention. The first is pluralistic ignorance. This is defined as the error of assuming that no one in a group perceives things as we do. Sometimes when we don't see anybody intervening during an emergency, we believe that is actually not an emergency. The second factor that contributes to the bystander effect is the diffusion of responsibility. This is defined as the reduction in feelings of personal responsibility in the presence of others. It's interesting that there are actual obstacles that prevent us from intervening.

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7 Comments

To be honest, I really wasn't that surprised by this finding. I remember when I learned CPR in my health class in high school, I thought to myself, "If I'm ever in a huge area and some random person goes down, will I really have the courage to do this in front of all of these people." It's not just the factor of thinking that others will help instead, but also for many people it may depend on some of their personality traits.

When I first started reading this I was thinking, oh I would help someone if they needed it. But I slowly changed my mind because I actually do those things where I think someone else will help or that they will be okay.

I would help in a situation. I know CPR and the other emergency techniques necessary for first aid delivery. I just cannot walk away until I know the situation has been neutralized. HOWEVER, I read the first comment you recieved and I couldn't agree more. The rate that a person helps in an emergency or is able to help in an emergency, may depend upon their personality. On the other hand, the shot of adrenalin one recieves during an emergent situation will enable them to take action. Is that more evolutionary? Anyway. An interesting blog. Thank you.

I would hope I would help someone out in a situation, but I don't know how much help I would be, I don't know first aid or CPR, but hopefully I would at least help so others know it's ok to help and do as much as I can by calling 911.

I would think I would help out someway in the situation you described above. But to say I wouldn't really know what I would do until I was actually put in that situation. I would probably think that other people saw that and called 911 and there is no point in me calling them too. However, I know that's probably not true, so hopefully when I am placed in a situation where I can do something to help, I hope I will do something.

After I read this post, I thought how I did in that situation and the answer is I ignored also.
I heard that people tend to call 911 if they were alone in the emergancy situation. However, they tend to neglect the emergency when they were in a group. All individuals think that other people might call 911 and if I do, people might think I am over acting. It is true that we should not act in that way. However, psyhologically, people tend to do that way, neglecting the emergency situation.
It is so sad truth.

There is a high possibility that bystander effect can occur in the current society where one's benefit becomes important. I found the imformation that when we are in danger, and it seems that it's hard to get help from strangers, we should shout to specific stranger speaking about the stranger's trait. For example, 'Help me!' is incorrect way of asking help. We should shout 'A men with a white T-shirts and blond hair, please help me!' This makes the stranger turn his head to you and help you.

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This page contains a single entry by cairl004 published on April 22, 2012 9:20 PM.

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