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One explanation for this type of behavior is the bystander effect (also known as bystander apathy and diffused responsibility) a phenomenon in which someone is less likely to intervene in an emergency situation when other people are present and able to help than when he or she is alone.
There are many examples where a large group of bystanders fail to help a person who obviously needs help. A common explanation of this phenomenon is that when others are present, the observers assume that someone else is going to intervene and so each individually refrains from doing so and feels less responsible (diffusion of responsibility).
Sometimes people assume that other bystanders may be more qualified to help (such as a police officer, doctor or nurse) and their intervention isnít needed. In some situations people may fear they will be the only one to respond and may be injured or killed themselves. Bystanders often monitor the reactions of other people in an emergency situation to see if others think that it is necessary to intervene. If others are doing exactly the same, everyone concludes from the inaction of others that other people do not think that help is needed.
Itís an interesting social psychology phenomenon that seems to still often occur with large groups of people.
Go on to: Comments by Betty - 6 Aug 2008
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