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    The bystander effect. An incredible theory, which sadly seems all too true.

    What would you do if you came across a dying man - stop to help or walk away?

    This is the chilling question raised by an article in the Guardian in 2005. A report by the government related to this murder (not conected with this theory, I should add) reminded me of this amazingly interesting article and theory.

    The theory, basically, says that if you are in the situation where someone needs help, it can be worse when there are many people in the vacinity than few as in a crowd everyone could potentially assume that everyone else will help. It's really got me thinking... especially last week when I saw a car on fire on the motorway and rang 999. This was stuck in my head. Surely someone else would ring? It turned out that they had, but without this theory I might have decided, along with others, just to be another bystander.

    Discuss.

    16 Comments

    Stop to help, can't imagine anyone who wouldn't! Though if a crowd around them I'd make sure someone was dealing with him and then leave as noone wants to be stared at and they probably need space.

    similar thing happened to me, i was in the temple where we have our food and i saw a guy faint and fall over. having never done a first aid course, i grabbed my old man (formed army) and we ran to the person's aid. all the signs pointed to a heart attack and at least ten people came to his aid. two called ambulances, kinda makes you think that in some situations, people will help a fellow human being.
    I must also say, the response of paramedics was impressive, phone call to attendance in 4 mins.
    luckily, the guy was diabetic and blood sugar was really low. stuff like this makes you think and i really would like to attend a first aid course.

    True, learned about this in psychology.
    Also I've seen a couple of videos of people getting beaten or stabbed on the streets and people just walk by...
    Unfortunately it is true.

    Banned

    I would stop and help, although I admit to thinking twice sometimes

    Not quite a murder but saw a girl (about 7 or fall off her bike a couple of years back as I was driving past, and the first thing that went through my head was shall I stop in case someone see's a 30 something year old guy stopped his car next to a crying little girl, and thinks the worst! Then I thought if it was my daughter would I want someone to stop and help or just leave her there...so I stopped.
    At the time I asked on another forum I use what others would do, and quite a few said they would drive past in case they were accused of anything.
    It's pretty sad that before you can help someone you have to think of what might happen if you do - I'm sure people didn't think like that 20 years ago.

    It's always best to help out i think. What's the worst that could happen if some major incident has already been reported.?
    To your first question I would stop and help if I could... the last time I witnessed someone fall over and get injuredin a town centre, there was an instant crowd around her, but I couldn't tell if she was being helped or whether people were just crowding around her out of morbid curiosity.

    we learnt in sociology a level about a study where they got a guy to dress up in different outfits (a suit, a manual worker boiler suit type thing, a homeless person, a goth, a chav etc) and to stand in a public place and collapse 'unconcious' onto the floor. they found that people were more likely to try to help those who appeared to be more middle/upper class, and assumed that people just assumed the homeless guy was drunk or something. i thought it was pretty interesting

    Original Poster

    I do think that the bystander effect does probably come in a few places more often than others:
    1) Where you could potentially be in danger yourself.
    2) In a situation such as driving along past something, where you don't know quite what's happened, have time to think, and it's fairly busy anyway.
    3) When you think someone "more qualified" could attend to the problem.

    gav989;1988721

    we learnt in sociology a level about a study where they got a guy to … we learnt in sociology a level about a study where they got a guy to dress up in different outfits (a suit, a manual worker boiler suit type thing, a homeless person, a goth, a chav etc) and to stand in a public place and collapse 'unconcious' onto the floor. they found that people were more likely to try to help those who appeared to be more middle/upper class, and assumed that people just assumed the homeless guy was drunk or something. i thought it was pretty interesting



    thats very interesting. could this be due to common perception of people that homeless guys are expected to be passed out (i.e. sleeping) on the ground?

    I think people fear the 'what if scenario'. If I report this, will the perpetrator find out it was me? Its an inherent (and quite selfish) trait in humans,
    I also believe its far more prevalent in big cities. Ok, you could argue - bigger city more crime. But i genuinely believe that in smaller towns people wouldn't give a second thought of getting involved or impeding. Bit of a generalisation there.
    Here's another one - large cities create lonely people -

    well a few years ago ... my younger brother, bless him, was driving dad's car and came across an accident. he carries the guy into the car to take him to hospital A&E. when he came back there was blood everywhere, carpet seats u name it. it wasnt as gory as Pulp Fiction when the guy is shot going over a road bump ... but my dad was not happy. my brother spent the whole week cleaning the car and appropriately banned from dad's car!

    kippy;1988814

    well a few years ago ... my younger brother, bless him, was driving dad's … well a few years ago ... my younger brother, bless him, was driving dad's car and came across an accident. he carries the guy into the car to take him to hospital A&E. when he came back there was blood everywhere, carpet seats u name it. it wasnt as gory as Pulp Fiction when the guy is shot going over a road bump ... but my dad was not happy. my brother spent the whole week cleaning the car and appropriately banned from dad's car!



    huh? you think this was an appropriate ban, kippy? i.e. that your dad's car is more important than helping an injured person? please tell me this is just an inappropriate use of appropriate!

    come to south-east london - it has become reality... especially among youths, drunks, bad drivers and anyone on public transport.

    Banned

    Artonox;2008159

    come to south-east london - it has become reality... especially among … come to south-east london - it has become reality... especially among youths, drunks, bad drivers and anyone on public transport.



    i'm from north east and same there...

    i was on a train going to work and saw this lady that was holding the overhead rail flailing about knocking into people sitting down and they just sat there doing nothing... I looked up and noticed she had passed out so i jumped up and helped her sit down... other people ignored the whole thing and only took notice once i asked them for some water for the lady.

    I was driving one day a year or so ago and a woman had fallen down and sitting up on the pavement. It was on a main road in moderate traffic, so couldn't stop when I initially had the most inclination to do so (i.e straight away). As I continued driving I seemed to rationalise away the need to turn back: there were a few people nearby, she was just drunk, etc. It really is a strange state of mind. and all this happens so quickly.
    I felt really bad after a minute or so though and turned back, but thankfully some passers by were helping her up.

    Liddle ol' me;2008050

    huh? you think this was an appropriate ban, kippy? i.e. that your dad's … huh? you think this was an appropriate ban, kippy? i.e. that your dad's car is more important than helping an injured person? please tell me this is just an inappropriate use of appropriate!



    it's with a tone of sarcarsm Liddle. chill out
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