Sunday, April 13, 2014

Helping Behavior ; How and Why Do We Help?

This article was a really interesting read about what drives or deters people from helping others in times of need. The main idea here is that someone is more likely to come to your aid you both are the only ones around. Studies have shown that in large crowds, an individual is less likely to come forward than if it is just the victim and a bystander. This fact amazes me and does not surprise me at the same time. In a large group, everyone kind of sits back and believes that someone else will be the one to step up. Whereas if you see someone hurt and you are the only one around, then you feel obligated to do it yourself because you might be their only hope. But, on the other hand, you would think that in a large group, the odds of a good samaritan would multiply tenfold. Whereas, you otherwise have to hope that the one guy who walks by is a good person.

This phenomenon is really interesting to me, and I think it has a lot to do with social roles and differences in situational behavior. I know personally that if I passed by someone on the street and I was the only one around, I would feel obligated to step up and help them. I also know that if there was a large group of people, I probably wouldn't be the first to jump to their aid. Interesting how that works. Most importantly, I think it is a direct reflection of how much you can relate to the person in need. I would probably be much more likely to help someone my age in a bad situation than say a middle aged man who is yelling for help. I don't really have a reason why either. The article says that someone is more likely to help if they think they are in the same social group, which is probably exactly why I feel that way.

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