Bystander Effect - people watch girl being abducted





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Published on Jan 29, 2009

When there's only one person around in a situation, they're much more likely to lend assistance to people in need, whether it's to help pick up something they're dropped or something more important like warn them they're about to step into traffic, etc.

When there's a group of people, though, no one acts. They all expect someone else will do it, so no one volunteers or pauses.

This is honestly a chilling video to watch. I don't have kids but it catches my breath when the two men catch on that something's going on and without any verbal communication between them, only similar body language (ie their mutual movement in that direction) it's amazing to me that, while they're both intently watching the man they are approaching, there is a single second when they Both launch into action, again without communicating anything verbally, but something triggers the same response from both men. How fascinating! It reminds me of wild lions in Africa who are following their prey but something simultaneously all animals involved and they leap to action.

I'm teaching a Social Psychology class right now and am really getting intrigued by the idea of how we send and receive communication without speaking. What is it about that situation that influenced those men though others around them didn't bother? And what was it in that single second where they both jump into a run? Was it that the man let the girl's arm go and started to run off himself? It's amazing to me.

See what you think? I showed this to a fellow teacher who has two daughters. It's scary to think that people would pass. The girl int his video was doing everything right - yelling over and over "You're not my dad! Someone help me!" It didn't do her any good, did it?


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