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Video transcript

imagine you're in a huge crowd of people walking down a busy street you see a person fall to the ground nearby would you help though most people instinctively say yes of course I'd help someone in need research and social psychology tells a different story more specifically research suggests that when you're in a group you're less likely to help and research goes further to state that with each person added to the group individuals feel less inclined to take action this is known as the bystander effect and the bystander effect essentially states that an individual may feel less inclined to take action because of the presence of others in the group so why does this happen well let's break down why people in a large group might not help someone who's unconscious well one reason might be lack of medical knowledge or experience in assisting people who are unconscious maybe maybe there is one individual in the group with a little bit of medical knowledge for instance maybe they learn how to perform CPR a few years ago but that person might defer the responsibility of someone else in the group assuming that was such a large group of people certainly there's someone here with much more experience in dealing with an unconscious patient the irony however is even though they might not be the most experienced in the group their limited experience and assistance even just calling 9-1-1 would help much more than waiting around for someone else to intervene so this concept is coined the diffusion of responsibility theory and that helps to explain the bystander effect so the diffusion of responsibility theory says that when individuals are in the presence of others they feel less personal responsibility and are less likely to take action when in a situation where help is needed again the bystander effect is amplified by the amount of people in the group now remember the inverse relationship the more people in the group the less inclined an individual is to take action so if you were to collapse unconscious in the presence of a small group there would be less of a chance of a bystander effect so if we shrunk this group down donating a few people it is very likely that people would be more inclined to take action and try to help you so remember our bystander with the limited medical experience who deferred to someone with more experience well in our new small group situation he might quickly realize he's the only one who's ever practiced CPR before so he would probably be more inclined to intervene the small group also helps to diminish the diffusion of responsibility theory from taking effect because the individuals in the small group probably feel more personal responsibility to intervene so if this guy took action and noted you had a pulse and we're breathing spontaneously and he maybe he call 9-1-1 and the EMS would arrive to bring you to the emergency room for evaluation so in this case medical knowledge wasn't even necessary or at least performing CPR wasn't even necessary someone simply just had to call 9-1-1 to address a situation so this happened a small group but in a large group the bystander effect has a greater effect and can lead to very little happening by any one individual one of the most famous examples used to illustrate the bystander effect is a sad story of kitty Genovese who was a 28 year old woman living in New York City who was stabbed raped and robbed while around 38 people were in the vicinity and what's worse was that this horrific attack spanned over half an hour with the victim pleading for help and the attacker returning ultimately killing her when some of the possible 38 witnesses were interviewed later many of them said that they didn't directly take action because there are so many other people present in the vicinity so while it's understandable that a bystander might be afraid to step in and fight a man with a knife somebody certainly could have went to a phone and called the police especially since this lasted for half an hour there would have been plenty of time for the police to arrive and that would have possibly saved her life now the bystander effect isn't the only scary phenomenon that can happen when large groups of people get together another issue that can come up with crowds is deindividuation which is a phenomenon in which individuals in a group are more likely to act impulsively commit crimes or perform antisocial acts because the presence of the crowd conceals the person's identity now a prime example of deindividuation is the heinous behavior of some individuals on Black Friday Black Friday usually features deeply discounted items from popular shopping stores and people will gather and line up for hours just to get a great discount on something unfortunately in these large crowds there's often tremendous violence in some cases shoppers have even trampled employees shot other shoppers or stolen goods from stores though they typically would not behave this way the presence of a large group of other individuals decreases their inhibition and guilt which increases a likelihood that they engage in this deviant or antisocial behavior in other words these people who are trampling employees and trampling other shoppers they probably wouldn't do that if it was just them and the other shopper but when putting this large group they become more inclined to behave that way and to commit those sorts of crimes now another example of deindividuation can be seen on the internet because the Internet is a largely anonymous platform so individuals are able to easily express antisocial or or unusual beliefs that's one reason if you look at YouTube comments for instance you might see a lot of really nasty comments hopefully not on this video but you know in many popular videos if you look at them you'll see people writing terrible things and one reason for this is the internet provides ability to be anonymous and so people will express opinions that they wouldn't normally express in other situations so when given this anonymous platform people are able to easily express antisocial or anti normative beliefs they're able to engage in sexually deviant behavior like child pornography or they can bully victims with out fear of repercussion usually so that's the concept of deindividuation one great thing about social psychology is that you've probably noticed these things happening but maybe you didn't really know the proper term for it well now you know so these are concept of deindividuation and bystander effect