What is the bystander effect? – videos

If someone was in need of help, would you just walk on by? This question seems easy to answer in theory – of course I wouldn’t. I’d stop and help.

Unfortunately, most people wouldn’t. This is a situation known as the bystander effect.

Wikipedia defines the bystander effect as:

 social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases where individuals do not offer any means of help in an emergency situation to the victim when other people are present

In effect, we conform to the social norm. No one else is helping so neither will we. In fact, you chances of being helped actually decrease if there are more people around. So you are less likely to receive help in a busy shopping street than you are in a secluded alleyway.

This seems hard to believe, surely people wouldn’t be left to suffer on their own?

Take a look at the following video on the bystander effect, it’s shocking:

So what can we do about it? Simple first aid training can help increase your confidence if you ever have to help someone in public.

Have you ever had to help someone in public? Did other people walk on by?

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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4 Responses

  1. Andrei Punte says:

    Well, unfortunately it makes sense. People have always been afraid to step out of the crowd and affirm themselves. This goes on any type of situation. I don’t really think we will see any change in this regard. I think the only people that would step up and help the person are people who either have been in that situation themselves so they can empathize with him, or if their job forces them to step up in this or other kinds of situations so they are used to it. I think some kind of programs which would encourage people to step up against the norm would benefit this and many other kinds of situations out there.

  2. cpefley says:

    That is so sad. Of course, that makes sense, but it is still awful. I think that it is the responsibility of every adult to properly train themselves in First Aid and CPR. That injured person could be a friend or family member, and it is sad that too many people aren’t prepared or equipped to help in an emergency.

  3. theshaynee says:

    I remember learning about this in Business Ethics.
    It has always baffled me. One thing we were taught is to point at someone and specifically tell them to call 911. That way there was no bystander effect. That one person knew it was their responsibility.
    So the best thing to do is take charge and tell someone to do the right thing while you’re helping .

  4. maxine says:

    That is horrible for people to be ignored when they obviously need help. There is nothing wrong with being different. People are rude. Would they like to be the one needing help?
    If I was to see someone needing help, I would be the first person to help.

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