Discusses some of the factors that make it harder for people

Read this article. that discusses some of the factors that make it harder for people to choose to act and instead make it more likely for them to default to being a bystander. Notice that there is a cognitive assessment that must take place in order for someone to act. They must be able to interpret the situation to a high enough degree that they have a reduced risk of misidentifying the need for intervention. Ambiguity in a situation increases the likelihood of the bystander effect occurring. For example, in the episode of “What Would You Do?” linked in the last activity, the situation created was one in which an adult was taking a child. The child was yelling, “I want my mom,” and “You’re not my dad.” However, if the child was not being truthful and was just misbehaving it would be very embarrassing to tackle a parent just trying to get their child back home. We may assess what others are doing for more information on whether it is appropriate to intervene. If others are doing nothing, we may be more likely to conform. Notice that this is the same concept that we saw when discussing the Darley and Latané Smoke Experiment. Diffusion of responsibility is the term used to describe the idea that when many people are present the responsibility seems to be diffused across the entire group such that no one person feels a burden to act. Without someone taking this responsibility on, an entire group of people may witness an event in which they each agree someone should do something, but no one acts.

For a review on helping behavior theories and the bystander effect, read this article .

Respond to the following questions:

Have you ever seen the bystander effect in person?

What circumstances made it difficult for onlookers to act?

Discusses some of the factors that make it harder for people

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