Diffusion of Responsibility concerning Helping Behavior

Deciding to help another human being in an emergency situation seems like a simple thing to do. We associatively interpret a person's willingness to help as an instinctive result of altruism or, alternatively, an act motivated by egoism and self-interest. Scientific evidence though, suggests otherwise. Social psychologists know that the question of bystander intervention is a complex one, involving the interplay of many factors. Bernstein et al. define helping behavior as "any act that is intended to benefit another person." (Bernstein et al. 654). After decades of applying rigorous scientific methods to this investigation, we are now in the position to identify the reasons related to the failure or unwillingness to help someone in need. Some of these are dispositional factors referring to the personality traits of the individual, while others may be directly linked to the situation.Even characteristics of the victim affect our willingness to help. All the above, combined with the modern, urban way of life are only some aspects of the "Diffusion of Responsibility" phenomenon, termed by the Oxford University Press Dictionary of Psychology as "a reduced sense of personal responsibility and individual accountability experienced in certain circumstances by members of a group, often leading to behavior untypical of any of the group members when alone".
After numerous experiments, this phenomenon gained the authority of a scientific law, confirmed by several hundred replications over the last decades. As psychologists denote, human beings tend to feel that responsibility for acting is shared, or diffused, among those present. Consequently, the greatest the number of people who are present in an emergency situation, the less responsible one might feel and the less likely it is, after all, that the person will feel obliged to help.
In the 1980‘s there was considerable interest in why people some…

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