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The Bystander Effect: The science of empathy

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You are in a large group of people and suddenly, someone needs help. What is your reaction? Are you going to sit there and wait for someone else to help first?  How long would it take you to decide to help if no one else did? What factors might affect your decision?

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
Wow. The diffusion of responsibility effect is real. Read about it in this article from Psychology Today. As one participant mentioned in the lesson, follow your conscience.  There is a whole series of articles on "The Bystander Effect," at this link. For some more powerful observations, watch this video: The Bystander Effect. Now, watch this TEDx Talk: The bystander effect is complicated.There is also a Khan Academy Lesson on this topic. Watch it to learn more. Why Don't Strangers Help Stop Fights? provides a bit more about the history of this effect.Need some encouragement on how to help yourself and others?a. Follow your conscienceb. Help and don't worry about what might happenc. If you need help and no one is assisting, ask someone!d. Model appropriate behavior for others and respond.
Avatar for Kim Preshoff
Lesson Creator
Hamburg, New York, United States

About TED-Ed Best of Web

TED-Ed Best of Web are exceptional, user-created lessons that are carefully selected by volunteer teachers and TED-Ed staff.

Meet The Creators