The Bystander Effect, By John Darley And Bibb Latane

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Altruism is defined as the selfless concern for the wellbeing of others. Most believe that human beings do things from the kindness of their hearts sometimes, such as giving to the homeless and donating to charity, or volunteering their hours to those in need. However, altruism can be traced through evolutionary history. Ancestral primates aided one another in grooming, childcare, and saving each other from dangerous situations. Many people would believe in the idea of self-less altruism existing because of what we see in our everyday life, but we see it separate from the evolutionary process. We see altruism separate from the evolutionary process, when in fact it is part of our primate evolutionary history and may even go further back. However,…show more content…
One explanation for the bystander effect is the cost benefit relationship. According to Peter Fischer the bystander effect refers to situation when individuals decrease the chance of helping others in time of need when there are more individuals around, leading individuals to believe that others would help the person in need. This effect is illustrated in many cases like Kitty Genovese’s situation in 1964, where she was raped and murdered in New York. The bystanders in this situation were Genovese’s neighbors. They witnessed the situation but did nothing to prevent the rape and murder of Kitty Genovese. Another situation involved Dominik Brunner who was also murdered in 2009; Brunner was murdered by two 18 year olds at a train station after Brunner tried to help children who were attacked by the two 18 year olds earlier at the scene. Many bystanders had witnessed the murder but no one intervened. (Fischer, 2011) These cases account for the lack of altruism during the bystander effect by illustrating the cost-benefit relationship, in that it would cause the witnesses more risk to help out than any benefit they would receive by interfering in the events, considering that there are other potential assistants around. In short, “Why join in if there are other people there to help? I am not getting anything from it and I might actually get hurt.” Altruism is dependent on the cost benefit relationship. The idea is that we help based on the assumed benefit we would receive from helping someone out. However, if we realize that the cost of risk outweighs the benefit, there’s a less likely chance of an individual displaying an altruistic response. Such would be the case of a bystander effect situation. If there are more people around, it would be more

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