Not my Responsibility
In a case of diffusion of responsibility a victim is being left helpless while responsibility is diffused among a crowd. For there to be a victim there has to an occurrence of a cause-and-effect situation. When this phenomenon happens it’s because a person or more commonly a group of people fail to act in a situation. The failure of action is spread throughout the group causing a mass non reaction to a potential dangerous situation for a victim. The process of diffusion of responsibility happens step by step and with the completion of each step the less likely someone is to react.
The steps to helping someone in a situation go as followed:
1).notice an emergency 2) interpret event as an emergency 3) take responsibility 4) decide to help, 5) provide help. This method would be the expecting steps you would take in an emergency. However, when diffusion of responsibility occurs the first two steps are indeed noticed, but on the third step your mind will see that your help is need but will diffuse the responsibility on to someone else. So when someone needs help the five step process to helping someone becomes blurry at the third step and in many cases help is not granted. There are factors that contribute to you not lending assistance. Some of these factors include your mood, age, morals, pressure and confidence. All of these factors weigh against your conscience and cause you not to help, which in effect the victim is left unaided.
Another reason why people fail to help in these situations is because people often look to others for guidance in ambiguous situations. A person will think a cop will help or someone stronger. The fact is everyone is thinking that and this causing the delay and the responsibility to be diffused. Most people want to stay in the background in life and not cause to much attention to themselves. When someone is in trouble this trait comes out in people and they stay in the shadows. We all have experienced that awkward moment where we are asked to admit something, but we look to others around us before raising our hand or admitting something. The same goes when diffusion of responsibility occurs. When an individual is alone, they are responsible for their actions and act accordingly. However, in a group individuals will look to others for guidance. This happens especially in an intense situation or an emergency. This reaction will cause delay, and in many cases this is why bystanders are so late in helping a victim in need. In some cases this can even cause bystanders to assume that nothing needs to be done at all.
So overall, delay causes diffusion of responsibility situations to occur. In most cases the delay is caused by assuming. For instance, people can assume a call has already been made to the police in an emergency. Or people will just flat out assume that someone else will help. Assuming anything is healthy it is better to be sure. In a large group people will look to others to assist before they do because of lack of confidence in many cases. The larger the group the more time will be taken up before help is granted. All these factors cause the phenomenon of Diffusion of Responsibility and the effect is a victim will not receive help when it is needed.
“Bystander Effect and Diffusion of Responsibility.” Heroic Imagination Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Apr. 2013.
“Bystander Effect – What is the Bystander Effect.” About.com Psychology. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Apr. 2013.