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From Empathy to Apathy: The Bystander Effect Revisited

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Abstract

The bystander effect, the reduction in helping behavior in the presence of other people, has been explained predominantly by situational influences on decision making. Diverging from this view, we highlight recent evidence on the neural mechanisms and dispositional factors that determine apathy in bystanders. We put forward a new theoretical perspective that integrates emotional, motivational, and dispositional aspects. In the presence of other bystanders, personal distress is enhanced, and fixed action patterns of avoidance and freezing dominate. This new perspective suggests that bystander apathy results from a reflexive emotional reaction dependent on the personality of the bystander.
https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721417749653
Current Directions in Psychological
Science
2018, Vol. 27(4) 249 –256
© The Author(s) 2018
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DOI: 10.1177/0963721417749653
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ASSOCIATION FOR
PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE
When people are asked whether they would spontane-
ously assist a person in an emergency situation, almost
everyone will reply positively. Although we all imagine
ourselves heroes, the fact is that many people refrain
from helping in real life, especially when we are aware
that other people are present at the scene. In the late
1960s, John M. Darley and Bibb Latané (1968) initiated
an extensive research program on this so-called
“bystander effect.” In their seminal article, they found
that any person who was the sole bystander helped, but
only 62% of the participants intervened when they were
part of a larger group of five bystanders. Following these
first findings, many researchers consistently observed a
reduction in helping behavior in the presence of others
(Fischer etal., 2011; Latané & Nida, 1981). This pattern
is observed during serious accidents (Harris & Robinson,
1973), noncritical situations (Latané & Dabbs, 1975), on
the Internet (Markey, 2000), and even in children
(Plötner, Over, Carpenter, & Tomasello, 2015).
Three psychological factors are thought to facilitate
bystander apathy: the feeling of having less responsi-
bility when more bystanders are present (diffusion of
responsibility), the fear of unfavorable public judgment
when helping (evaluation apprehension), and the
belief that because no one else is helping, the situation
is not actually an emergency (pluralistic ignorance).
Although these traditional explanations (Latané &
Darley, 1970) cover several important aspects (attitudes
and beliefs), other aspects remain unknown, unex-
plained, or ignored in studies of the bystander effect,
including neural mechanisms, motivational aspects,
and the effect of personality. Indeed, the only hit for
the keyword “personality” in a recent overview (Fischer
etal., 2011) was for journal names in the reference list
(e.g., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology).
Consequently, it seems fair to say that the “literature
has remained somewhat ambiguous with regard to the
relevant psychological processes” (Fischer etal., 2011,
p. 518). Here, we highlight recent neuroimaging and
behavioral studies and sketch a new theoretical model
that incorporates emotional, motivational, and dispo-
sitional aspects and highlights the reflexive aspect of
the bystander effect.
749653CDPXXX10.1177/0963721417749653Hortensius, de GelderBystander Effect Revisited
research-article2018
Corresponding Author:
Ruud Hortensius, Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, School
of Psychology, University of Glasgow, 62 Hillhead St., Glasgow, G12
8QB, Scotland, United Kingdom
E-mail: ruud.hortensius@glasgow.ac.uk
From Empathy to Apathy: The Bystander
Effect Revisited
Ruud Hortensius1 and Beatrice de Gelder2,3
1Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Glasgow; 2Department of
Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University; and 3Department
of Computer Science, University College London
Abstract
The bystander effect, the reduction in helping behavior in the presence of other people, has been explained
predominantly by situational influences on decision making. Diverging from this view, we highlight recent evidence
on the neural mechanisms and dispositional factors that determine apathy in bystanders. We put forward a new
theoretical perspective that integrates emotional, motivational, and dispositional aspects. In the presence of other
bystanders, personal distress is enhanced, and fixed action patterns of avoidance and freezing dominate. This new
perspective suggests that bystander apathy results from a reflexive emotional reaction dependent on the personality
of the bystander.
Keywords
bystander effect, helping behavior, empathy, sympathy, personal distress
250 Hortensius, de Gelder
Neural Mechanisms of Bystander Apathy
Can neuroimaging studies inform the investigation of
the bystander effect? What are the neural mechanisms
underlying bystander apathy? In view of traditional
explanations, one would expect to find the involvement
of brain regions that are important for decision making.
Yet emerging evidence suggests that certain forms of
helping behavior are automatic or reflexive (Rand,
2016; Zaki & Mitchell, 2013), and recent neuroimaging
studies without a bystander focus already propose the
automatic activation of preparatory responses in salient
situations. Observing a threatening confrontation
between two people activates the premotor cortex inde-
pendent of attention (Sinke, Sorger, Goebel, & de
Gelder, 2010) or focus (Van den Stock, Hortensius,
Sinke, Goebel, & de Gelder, 2015). This raises the ques-
tion of whether the absence of helping behavior is a
cognitive decision or follows automatically from a
reflexive process.
A recent functional MRI (fMRI) study directly mapped
neural activity as a function of the number of bystand-
ers present in an emergency situation (Hortensius & de
Gelder, 2014). Participants watched an elderly woman
collapsing to the ground alone or in the presence of
one, two, or four bystanders. Activity increased in
vision- and attention-related regions, but not in the
mentalizing network. When participants witnessed
emergencies with increasing numbers of bystanders, a
decrease in activity was observed in brain regions
important for the preparation to help: the pre- and
postcentral gyrus and the medial prefrontal cortex
(MPFC; Fig. 1a). The MPFC is implicated in a diverse
set of emotional and social processes. One proposal
for an overarching role is mapping of situation-response
association (Alexander & Brown, 2011; Euston, Gruber,
& McNaughton, 2012), coding the link between an
event (e.g., an emergency) and corresponding responses
(in this case, helping behavior). Activity in the MPFC
has been linked to prosocial behavior (Moll etal., 2006;
Rilling etal., 2002; Waytz, Zaki, & Mitchell, 2012), such
as helping friends and strangers on a daily basis
(Rameson, Morelli, & Lieberman, 2012).
Using a scenario similar to those used in early
bystander studies, Zanon, Novembre, Zangrando,
Chittaro, and Silani (2014) showed the importance of
the MPFC for helping behavior during a life-threatening
situation. In an experiment using virtual reality, partici-
pants and four bystanders had to evacuate a building
that caught on fire. While doing so, they encountered
a trapped individual whom they could help. People
who offered to help (compared with those who
refrained from helping) showed greater engagement of
the MPFC within the anterior default-mode network
(Fig. 1b). However, can this association be quantified
as reflexive or reflective? A recent study suggests that
computations underlying choices with a focus on other
people’s needs are faster, or reflexive, compared with
computations of choices with a selfish focus (Hutcherson,
Bushong, & Rangel, 2015). Both of these choices are
sustained by the MPFC. Recent evidence suggests that
coding of reflexive responses to situations within this
area might depend on experience and personality.
When cognition was restricted while participants
observed people in distress, activity in the MPFC did
not decrease for people with higher levels compared
with people with lower levels of dispositional empathy
(Rameson etal., 2012). Together, these recent findings
provide a first indication of the neural mechanism
underlying bystander apathy and point to a possible
mechanism similar to a reflex that determines the likeli-
hood of helping.
Dispositional Influences on
Bystander Apathy
The first experimental bystander study found no effect
of dispositional levels of social-norm following on
bystander apathy (Darley & Latané, 1968), and since
then the role of personality factors has largely been
ignored. The general notion is that behavior is domi-
nated by situational factors rather than by personality;
thus bystander apathy is present in everyone. This con-
trasts with other research areas, in which the impact of
personality—systematic interindividual differences con-
sistent across time and situation—on helping behavior
have been widely appreciated (Graziano & Habashi,
2015). Sympathy and personal distress have been identi-
fied as two dispositional factors that influence helping
behavior (Batson, Fultz, & Schoenrade, 1987; Eisenberg
& Eggum, 2009). Sympathy is an other-oriented response
that encompasses feelings of compassion and care for
another person. The contrasting and automatic reaction
of personal distress relates to the observer’s self-
oriented feelings of discomfort and distress. In stark
contrast to personal distress, helping behavior driven
by sympathy is not influenced by social factors such as
social evaluation or reward (Fultz, Batson, Fortenbach,
McCarthy, & Varney, 1986; Romer, Gruder, & Lizzadro,
1986).
Inspired by these findings, we studied the interplay
between the bystander effect and a disposition to experi-
ence sympathy and personal distress by directly and indi-
rectly probing the motor cortex while participants
observed an emergency (Hortensius, Schutter, & de
Gelder, 2016). As predicted by previous literature, both
sympathy and personal distress were related to faster
Bystander Effect Revisited 251
Trapped IndividualEvacuationStarting Point
Decreased Brain Activity During the Observation of an Emergency With Increasing Number of Bystanders
No Bystanders One Bystander Two Bystanders Four Bystanders
Pre- and Postcentral Gyrus Medial Prefrontal Cortex
Medial Prefrontal Cortex
An Increase in Functional Connectivity While Helping Someone in the Presence of Bystanders
a
b
Fig. 1. Neural activity as it relates to bystander apathy. In a functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment testing bystander apathy
(a), participants saw an elderly woman collapsing on the ground in the presence of no, one, two, or four bystanders. Still images from
the videos are shown. The decrease in activity in the pre- and postcentral gyrus and the medial prefrontal cortex during the witness of
an emergency with increasing number of bystanders is shown. In a virtual reality experiment (b), participants had to evacuate a burning
building. During the evacuation, they encountered a trapped individual whom they could help or not. Still images from the virtual real-
ity environment are shown. Increased functional coupling of the medial prefrontal cortex within the anterior part of the default-mode
network in individuals who helped compared with individuals who did not help is shown. Panel (a) was adapted from Hortensius and
de Gelder (2014), and panel (b) was adapted from Zanon, Novembre, Zangrando, Chittaro, and Silani (2014); both are reproduced with
permission from Elsevier.
252 Hortensius, de Gelder
responses to an emergency without bystanders present.
However, only personal distress predicted the negative
effect of bystanders during an emergency. Further testing
showed that this association between personal distress
and the bystander effect relates to a reflexive—but not
reflective—preparation to help. Consistent with the previ-
ous neuroimaging findings, bystander apathy is not the
result of a cognitive decision to act; rather, it is dependent
on a mechanism similar to a reflex, especially for people
with a disposition to experience personal distress.
The reflexive aversive reactions to the suffering of
another person are closely related to behavioral avoid-
ance and inhibition. Indeed, state and trait avoidance-
related motivations influence bystander apathy (van
den Bos, Müller, & van Bussel, 2009; Zoccola, Green,
Karoutsos, Katona, & Sabini, 2011). When people are
reminded to act without inhibition, thereby temporally
shifting the balance between approach and avoidance
motivations, helping behavior occurs faster and even
increases in bystander situations (van den Bos etal.,
2009). Behavioral inhibition is sustained by subcortical
brain regions (e.g., amygdala) and cortical brain regions
(e.g., motor and prefrontal areas) that act depending
on situation and disposition (McNaughton & Corr,
2004). For example, a recent study showed the dynamic
interplay between behavioral inhibition, helping behav-
ior, and personality (Stoltenberg, Christ, & Carlo, 2013).
Variation in the serotonin neurotransmitter system, a
crucial modulator of behavioral inhibition, affected
helping behavior, and this relation was mediated by
dispositional levels of social inhibition. Thus, bystander
apathy is likely to be the result of a personality-
dependent mechanism that is similar to a reflex.
Bystander Apathy as the Result of a
Motivational System
These findings dovetail with a motivational model
described by Graziano and his colleagues (Graziano &
Habashi, 2010, 2015) in which two evolutionarily con-
served but opposing motivational systems with fixed
behavioral consequences are activated in sequence
when people encounter an emergency. Feelings of per-
sonal distress and sympathy are related to the first and
second systems, respectively. The instantaneous response
to an emergency is a feeling of distress and activation
of the fight-freeze-flight system. Under these conditions,
helping behavior does not occur, and the behavioral
response is limited to avoidance and freeze responses.
Over time, a slower feeling of sympathy arises together
with the activation of a reflective second system. This
counteracts the fixed action patterns of the first system.
The likelihood that helping behavior will occur is the
net result of these two systems, and helping behavior
is promoted by the second system. Feelings of personal
distress and sympathy are present in everyone, but the
dispositional levels of these feelings and strength of
these two systems vary between individuals (Graziano
& Habashi, 2010, 2015). The presence of bystanders
during an emergency selectively increases the activity
of the first system (Fig. 2a). This situational increase in
personal distress, combined with dispositional levels of
personal distress, increases the activation of the fight-
freeze-flight system and results in a reduced likelihood
of helping. Indeed, higher levels of personal distress
decrease helping behavior when the possibility of
escaping the situation is easy (Batson etal., 1987). Ulti-
mately, bystander apathy occurs as the consequence of
an inhibitory response, leading people to try to avoid
the situation, but this is not a conscious decision.
The Ultimate Cause of Bystander Apathy
Although this perspective provides new insight into the
proximate cause of bystander apathy, it also allows for
speculation on its ultimate cause. Why is the motivation
to help dependent on the number of bystanders? Per-
haps because, for the best outcome, only the fittest
individual (strongest, most experienced, etc.) should
provide help and others should not, or at least they
should help more cautiously. The training of firefighters
and other first responders directly follows these prin-
ciples: Only well-trained individuals are allowed to
help, and trainees are excluded. Taking into account
the composition and size of the bystander group is
crucial in providing efficient help that maximizes indi-
vidual survival. This might already be reflected in the
calculations within the motivational system (Francis,
Gummerum, Ganis, Howard & Terbeck, 2017). Apathy
in novel situations or with unknown bystanders could
be the consequence of these calculations. There is indi-
rect evidence for this suggestion: Bystander apathy is
reduced when bystanders know each other (Fischer
etal., 2011), and an individual’s competence relative
to other bystanders influences the occurrence of help-
ing behavior (Bickman, 1971; Ross & Braband, 1973).
Future studies should formally test the effect of group
composition (i.e., known identity, expertise) on the cal-
culations within the motivational system. Are increased
levels of personal distress during bystander situations a
way to prevent inadequate helping behavior?
An Integrative Perspective on
Bystander Apathy
This is not to say that previous decision-based explana-
tions are obsolete. Cognitive, situational, and disposi-
tional explanations are not mutually exclusive, and a
Bystander Effect Revisited 253
Time
Emergency
System II: Sympathy
System I: Personal Distress
a
Increasing
Likelihood of Helping
Decreasing
Effect of Bystanders
Sy
stem I:
P
Attentional Capture
Evaluation of Situation
Decision on Responsibility
Belief of Competence
Decision to Help
Time
System II:
Sympathy
System I:
Personal Distress
P
ersonal Distres
s
Decision Process
Behavioral Inhibition
Emotion Regulation
Possible Integrative
Processes
Perspective Taking
Effect of Personality
Reflective
Reflexive
Automaticity
b
Fig. 2. A motivational and integrated account of bystander apathy. Helping behavior is the net result of two opposing processes (Graziano
& Habashi, 2010). When people encounter an emergency, self-centered feelings of personal distress arise, and the fight-freeze-flight system is
activated; helping behavior does not occur (a). Only with the opposing other-oriented feeling of sympathy and the activation of the second
system does the likelihood of helping increase. The strength of the two systems is the sum of dispositional and situational influences. The
strength of System I is increased for people with a disposition to experience personal distress in response to an emergency. Because the pres-
ence of bystanders results in an additional increase in the strength and dominance of System I, individuals with a disposition to experience
personal distress in response to an emergency are more prone to bystander apathy. Intermediate processes can be described to reconcile
cognitive and motivational accounts of bystander apathy. The decision process, as first put forward by Latané and Darley (1970), consists
of the cognitive steps that occur from the initial attentional capture and evaluation of the emergency, to the decision of responsibility and
competence, and ultimately to the decision to provide help (b). These processes can be mediated by the integrative processes of behavioral
inhibition, emotion regulation. and perspective taking, which are at first driven by the reflexive system of personal distress and later by the
reflective system of sympathy. Ultimately, these personality- and situation-dependent processes can increase or decrease the likelihood of a
person providing help during emergency situations involving bystanders.
254 Hortensius, de Gelder
multilevel approach is crucial in understanding helping
behavior and the lack thereof. Thoughts and feelings
are part of every responsive bystander, and the moti-
vational processes described could precede or influ-
ence the decision to help (Hortensius, Neyret, Slater &
de Gelder, 2018). Latané and Darley (1970) describe a
five-step process during bystander situations: The
potential emergency (a) captures the attention of the
individual, who (b) evaluates the emergency, (c)
decides on responsibility and (d) belief of competence,
and then ultimately (e) makes the decision to help or
not. However, these calculations in the decision-making
process do not necessarily have to occur at a reflective,
cognitive level (Garcia, Weaver, Moskowitz, & Darley,
2002) and can also reflect the outcome of reflexive or
intermediate processes.
Several intermediate processes can reconcile the pre-
vious reflective and present reflexive explanations but
warrant further empirical confirmation (Fig. 2b). These
processes—behavioral inhibition, emotion regulation,
and perspective taking—stem directly from the over-
arching motivational systems (Batson et al., 1987).
Immediately after someone confronts an emergency, the
integrative processes (behavioral inhibition and emotion
regulation) are under the influence of the first system
of personal distress; over time, the system related to
sympathy mediates these processes (emotion regulation,
perspective taking). Together, these processes increase
or decrease bystander apathy. For example, although
behavioral inhibition and freezing at an early stage can
help in assessing and deciding on the situation
(McNaughton & Corr, 2004), prolonged inhibition and
freezing is ineffective. Likewise, the ability to regulate
initial aversive reactions to an emergency, which are
tightly linked to dispositional levels of personal distress
and sympathy (Eisenberg & Eggum, 2009), is crucial in
deciding to help. Taking into account the perspective
of other bystanders, as well as the victim, mediated by
the core process of sympathy (Eisenberg & Eggum,
2009), can positively influence felt moral responsibility
(Paciello, Fida, Cerniglia, Tramontano, & Cole, 2013),
the cognitive belief of competence, and ultimately the
decision to help (Patil etal., 2017). This cascade of
processes in response to an emergency is reflexive at
first, whereas the later stages can be described as reflec-
tive. This distinction between reflexive and reflective
might be dependent on experience, and the coupling
of situation and response can be completely reflexive
for certain individuals or situations (Rand & Epstein,
2014; Zaki & Mitchell, 2013). As for explaining bystander
apathy, however, pluralistic ignorance, evaluation
apprehension, and diffusion of responsibility might
simply be the summary terms of the attenuated
integrative processes of emotion regulation, behavioral
inhibition, and perspective taking mediated by the moti-
vational system of personal distress.
Concluding Remarks
This perspective opens up new ways to study the neural
and psychological mechanisms of bystander apathy by
taking into account situational and dispositional factors.
Although ecological validity is a challenge in neuroim-
aging studies, innovations such as virtual reality,
together with neuroimaging and behavioral testing,
portable neuroimaging systems, and laboratory-based
investigations of people who provided help in real life,
will allow the important next steps in bystander
research. The bottom-up approach for which we argue
sketches a novel perspective on the bystander effect
and already paves the way for a different explanation.
Together, findings from recent neuroimaging and
behavioral studies suggest that the bystander effect is
the result of a reflexive action system that is rooted in
an evolutionarily conserved mechanism and operates
as a function of dispositional personal distress. In the
end, we do not actively choose apathy, but are merely
reflexively behaving as bystanders.
Recommended Reading
Fischer, P., Krueger, J. I., Greitemeyer, T., Vogrincic, C.,
Kastenmüller, A., Frey, D., . . . Kainbacher, M. (2011). (See
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research on the bystander effect that provides a critical over-
view and analysis of factors mitigating bystander apathy.
Hortensius, R., Schutter, D. J. L. G., & de Gelder, B. (2016).
(See References). A recent study investigating the influ-
ence of a disposition to experience personal distress on
bystander apathy by using behavioral and neurophysi-
ological measures.
Preston, S. D. (2013). The origins of altruism in offspring care.
Psychological Bulletin, 139, 1305–1341. A comprehensive
and important review on how evolutionarily conserved
mechanisms related to offspring care can drive a wide
variety of altruistic behaviors in humans.
Slater, M., Rovira, A., Southern, R., Swapp, D., Zhang, J. J.,
Campbell, C., & Levine, M. (2013). Bystander responses
to a violent incident in an immersive virtual environ-
ment. PLOS ONE, 8(1), Article e52766. doi:10.1371/journal
.pone.0052766. A first demonstration of how virtual reality
can be used to systematically address factors mediating the
bystander effect that were hitherto impossible to investigate.
Zanon, M., Novembre, G., Zangrando, N., Chittaro, L., &
Silani, G. (2014). (See References). An investigation that
used a combination of virtual reality and neuroimaging
to elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying the occur-
rence of helping behavior and show the importance of
the medial prefrontal cortex in this process.
Bystander Effect Revisited 255
Action Editor
Randall W. Engle served as action editor for this article.
Acknowledgments
We thank R. Huiskes and G. J. Will for insightful discussions
that further inspired this work and S. Bell for valuable com-
ments on a version of the manuscript.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared that there were no conflicts of interest
with respect to the authorship or the publication of this
article.
Funding
This work was supported by the European Research Council
(ERC) under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Pro-
gramme for Research 2007–13 (ERC Grant agreement numbers
249858 “Tango” and 295673).
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... It has been acknowledged in models of bystander behavior, developed primarily with adults in mind, that the emotional state of the witness is likely to exert an influence on their willingness to intervene (Fischer et al., 2011;Hortensius and de Gelder, 2018). For example, a failure to intervene to assist someone in distress has been described as a fear-driven "freezing" or avoidance response that is triggered by high levels of personal distress when other bystanders are present (Hortensius and de Gelder, 2018). ...
... It has been acknowledged in models of bystander behavior, developed primarily with adults in mind, that the emotional state of the witness is likely to exert an influence on their willingness to intervene (Fischer et al., 2011;Hortensius and de Gelder, 2018). For example, a failure to intervene to assist someone in distress has been described as a fear-driven "freezing" or avoidance response that is triggered by high levels of personal distress when other bystanders are present (Hortensius and de Gelder, 2018). By way of contrast, Fischer et al. (2011) have argued that a bystander who perceives the level of danger to the victim (and by extension to themselves) to be high is more likely to intervene. ...
... Interestingly, we found an association between anxiety and autonomous motivation to defend. Prior studies have demonstrated that the emotional state of witnesses can influence on their willingness to intervene (Fischer et al., 2011;Hortensius and de Gelder, 2018). By contrast, Jungert and Perrin (2019) found that Swedish adolescents with higher levels of trait anxiety were less likely to defend a victim of bullying belonging to an out-group. ...
... Black women often experience the bystander effect in higher education, which refers to the decline of helping others in the presence of other people, which has been explained primarily by situational influences on individual decision making (Hortensius & de Gelder, 2018). Determined are the ways in which distribution of responsibility, pluralistic unawareness, and victim outcomes can influence helping behavior. ...
... Bystander Effect: Refers to the decline of helping others in the presence of other people, which has been explained primarily by situational influences on individual decision making (Hortensius & de Gelder, 2018). ...
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This chapter discusses the social justice implications of moral instructional practice, according to bell hooks. Also identified are the practical uses of educational leadership in classroom instruction utilizing transgression of the status quo. It is incumbent for educational practitioners to maintain healthy and ethical relationships with their students. As a result, an educator's moral practice is analyzed through the various ethical theories of the common good, social justice, liberation practice, essentialism, feminism, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. From a deontological perspective and as a result of liberation practice, relativism and moral instruction is the way forward to ensure the greater good. Notwithstanding, the field of education must transform to embrace heightened awareness and respect for individuality, equity, and justice. This chapter will utilize the example of Dr. Mary Mcleod Bethune to demonstrate practical applications for transformative leadership in higher education.
... Consider bystander intervention, often taken as a case study of the power of the situation to shape the link between our belief (someone needs help) and our actions (we help them). Early research showed that the number of people witnessing a potential emergency situation had a strong effect on the individual proclivity to help the victim: the more witnesses there were, the less likely each individual was to intervene (Darley & Latané, 1968); recent research has also revealed that some interpersonal differences play a role in deciding whether someone will help (Hortensius & de Gelder, 2018). Although some of these behavioral differences stem from the participants holding different beliefs (i.e. about the nature of the emergency), even when the existence of an emergency situation is clear, behavioral responses vary. ...
... Still, there are some clear patterns. First, nearly everyone is strongly affected by the situation, even those who elect not to help (e.g., Hortensius & de Gelder, 2018; on the effects of witnessing trauma more generally, see, e.g., Regehr et al., 2002). Second, there is always a substantial share of participants that chooses to act--for instance, 62% of participants in groups of five bystanders, in the original study (Darley & Latané, 1968). ...
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... Recent research reveals more complex emotional and motivational reasons that witnesses to dangerous or harmful situations do or do not take action. (Hortensius & de Gelder, 2018). Bystanders are influenced by organizational culture and attitudes about behaviors in making decisions about intervention (Fischer et al., 2011). ...
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