Friday, February 12, 2010

Social Psychology "Bystander effect"

The 'social psychology' was quite extensive topic but later on, the bystander effect comes up on my mind.  I've seen Tv program about this. Bystander effects are quite common experiments. Some of us might experienced or heard it by chance and it might help us to understand.

Bystander effect is the phenomenon that people don't take action when someone is in danger and even more witnesses means less helper. 
There are many factors that people help someone in troubled situation we can think about, such as time, personality, and ability and power to help. However, it is very interesting how the number of people around affects on relative frequency of help action. In the article, the experiment of Latané and Darley precisely shows the result. In faked emergency situation, people tend to be more active(rushed) helping when they were the only person and less active helping when there were few other people there. The percentage reduced. It seems to be a dispersion of responsibility, due to those around one. The great power of the situation is marvelous. What if this happens to us in reality?

We often question an individual's motive behind not helping another. Yet, we often find that approaching a helpless stranger on the street is harder than it seems to be. This is because when accompanied by a friend or friends, we tend to consider their views before our personal thoughts. Such bystander effect is not uncommon around us. At work, we sometimes avoid menial tasks, wishing that someone else would do it sooner or later. Our reluctance to carry out an act with our own hands, which is something that defeats the basic social responsibility, cannot be a benefit to our society as a whole.

1 comment:

Jiji said...

The linked page has a very easy to understand, well summarized idea of the Bystander Effect, and Yoon provides us with a good analysis based on her point of view. The amount of influence the environmental circumstances has on our psyche is indeed, incredibly significant.
I observe the Bystander Effect quite regularly in group situations. Although they may not be acts of heroism or resolving an emergency, this form of instant group thinking occurs a lot in daily situations as well. For example, when we are in a class room situation and a difficult vocab word pops out, most kids choose not to ask for its meaning, because no one else is asking. As Yoon has mentioned, this form of decision making cannot be beneficial for our society. However, it does make majority decision making easier, because each individual of the group does not choose to cause trouble by asserting one's opinion. I think this is a similar effect as those observed in faked emergencies. If one chooses to act on something while everyone is standing still, it makes you stand out amongst them. Whether or not that act is reasonable or good does not really make a difference. Ignorance is easy and heroism is difficult.