What term do psychologists use for the phenomenon that occurs when people are less likely to aid a person in trouble if there are other people around who are also potential helpers?

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d.p Share
Jan 26, 2017


This is known as the bystander effect.


Bystander effect is where people are (like you mentioned in your question!) less likely to help a person if there are others around.

A potential explanation for this is the diffusion of responsibility. As the number of people increase, the responsibility to help a person in need, diffuses more to each person. This means the more number of people, the less an individual of that group has responsibility! Thus, the less likely a person will help as they are held less responsible (due to a larger amount of people).

However, for instance, if there were one person around the person in need. For eg. person B falls suddenly and there is no one except person A around. Then person A would have all of the responsibility to help person A up. Consequently, person A is much more likely to help person B.

If you do want to read up more, here's a link: https://www.verywell.com/the-bystander-effect-2795899

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