The Rule of “The Bystander Effect”

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The Diffusion of Liability is "a reduced sense of personal accountability that tends to occur in groups without an assigned leader or other responsible party, according to psychological principles, and the PsychCentral definition." This is exactly what is seen in the YouTube video entitled, "The Bystander Effect," in which we see many actors trying to figure out how long it will take for Staat. In a group, everyone knows that they should help, but no one does because they still do what everyone else is doing. They don’t want to be held responsible for what should happen if they try to help and something should go wrong, and they don’t want to be in the limelight if something should go right.

However, in a group, if just one person stands up and does something, then it’s no longer a Diffusion of Responsibility and more people will stand up because they know that they aren’t going to be held responsible and won’t be in the limelight. They are now DOING what everyone else is doing by helping instead of not helping. And all it takes is one person standing up and doing something.

I would always get involved if I saw someone needing help because even if I couldn’t help, I know someone around there could and I could always try to flag someone down in the area or I could call someone, even if it was just emergency services, a cab for someone, or something like that. But who knows how long that person needed help before I saw them and I helped? And once I helped, how many other people would decide to help as well? This, again, is an example of the Diffusion of Responsibility that leads to “The Bystander Effect.”

Works Cited

“The Bystander Effect.” YouTube, uploaded by Coolpsychologist, 9 June 2009,

“Diffusion of Responsibility.” PsychCentral, 17 July 2016,

October 20, 2021

Science Psychology


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