By Corinna Wiemerslage
If you’re sitting in a room full of people, and you see someone struggling, would you go help that person or would you sit back and wait for someone else to help them? There is a study called the Bystander Effect, which by definition is, “When the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation.” In simpler terms, it is how willing a person is to help out another person in front of a group of people.
Many studies have been done, and the more people that are in a room together, the less likely a person is willing to get out of their comfort zone and help out a person in need. Even if that task is something as simple as picking up some books that were dropped. In studies, it was found that people feel more obligated to help and are more willing to help if there is a lesser amount of people in a room, or if there it’s a one on one situation. This is generally because there is less pressure on the person to reach out, and a lot of the people who do stop and help do it out of impulse. One study that was done had a person who was trying to assemble an object. It was clear that the person was struggling and needed to help, but 21 out of the 23 people watching didn’t offer to help.
Well, the next question is, why don’t people help? Some of the reasons include fear of embarrassment, they think someone else will stop and help or they simply don’t know how they can help. The Bystander Effect is a way of showing society the statistics and facts of how willing people are to help.
If you’re the person who reaches out and helps: You’re one of the very few who are willing to go out of their comfort zone. In the Bystander Effect research, there has been a greater amount of people who are not willing to stop if there are larger crowds around, but if it is a one on one situation, help is more likely to be received.
Now let’s prove the Bystander Effect that we “Minnesota Nice” people do not go along with the study. Next time you see a person who is struggling to complete a task by themself or need a hand, take the time out of your day to help them.
Corinna Wiemerslage is a student at Kingsland High School. She is one of eight area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 21st year.