“Why People Don’t Help in a Crisis” by John M. Darley and Bibb Latane 1968

  • 1968- in psychology today

in this article, the authors contend that people do care about one another, but fear often keeps them from acting. Also, groups tend to react much more slowly than individual people, so that one person might run to help whereas those in a group might hesitate as they wait for someone to lead.

  • Kitty Genovese: murdered by a maniac as she returns home from work at 3 a.m. 38 neighbors in Kew Gardens, N.Y. see, but don’t help. It takes 30 minutes for her to be murdered.
  •  Andrew Mormille: (17 years old) stabbed in the head and neck as he rides in NYC subway train. 11 other riders flee to another car as he bleeds to death. No one helps even though the murders leave the scene.
  • Eleanor Bradley: trips and breaks her leg on NYC’s 5th avenue. She calls for help, but the hurrying stream of people just walk past, but after 40 minutes a taxi driver stops and helps her to a doctor.

3 Things a bystander must do if she/he is  going to intervene(help) are: notice something is happening, interpret it an emergency, and decide to take personal responsibility.

“The Unseeing Eye”

In a group, people are less likely to react to an emergency because when we were younger we were taught not to stare. Solitary people or individuals react more quickly to situations than the group; an example from this selection is the smoke experiment. 

“Seeing is Not Neccessarily Believeing”

Sometimes things are not always what they seem.

” The Lonely Crowd” (oxymoron- where two words contradict one another, jumbo shrimp, little giant, exact opposite, bitter sweet)

Diffusion-of -responsibility- This is whenever everyone else thinks someone else is going to respond. Therefore, no one, or very few people, ever respond.

“The Lesson Learned”

Instead, we find that a bystander to an emergency is an anguished individual in genuine doubt, wanting to do the right thing but compelled to make complex decisions under pressure of stress and fear.



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