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Analyzing the failure

Failure to help somebody in trouble, specifically when the helping individual’s full intervention is required, almost always, is caused by worry of loosing his or her identity owing to social pressures or the notion that someone else will do something. Even though these are not the only reasons why people decide not to help somebody in trouble, they provide a general idea of why people won’t compromise themselves by giving a hand.

Although there are many underlying aspects of why persons shy away from helping others, such as their idiosyncrasies, one can imply, basing on concepts such as “diffusion of responsibility”, the reason for the inaction to help the distressed one. Failure to help 3 Analyzing the failure to help human kin in trouble Helping others in any possible way, from lending money to alert them from some kind of physical or psychological harm is beneficial to society and most humans are born with faculties to help. However, it is likely you would help the closest persons to you first, than strangers.

A person’s actions are commonly influenced by his culture and family. According to Baumeister (2005), when observing how people help others and interact among themselves is worth noting how animals carry out the same behavior. He contends, based on other writers’ ideas that the same favoritisms that are present in them are in humans as well. “…people help their immediate family most, followed by other relatives, followed by friends; and people are far less helpful toward total strangers” (Baumeister, 2005, p. 365).

It is note worthy that some animals will not help others different from its kind at all. Diffusion of responsibility When analyzing why people fail to intervene when a person is victimized, whether in a felony or a tragedy, John Darley and Bibb Latane coined the term diffusion of responsibility. This study began after the popular case of a 28 year old woman, who according to the media and witnesses, was attacked and murdered outside her apartment in New York at daybreak in 1963, while some forty people herd or saw something but no one decided to do anything, not even phone the police.

It all leads to conclude, as Baumeister (2005), suggests, that the woman, by having so many people nearby when being attacked and murdered “worked to her disadvantage” (Baumeister, 2005, p. 379). It was more likely that if a Good Samaritan, that happened to be close to the area of the attack by himself, could have done something to save her life. The quirk Failure to help 5 of fate is that everyone thought that somebody else would do something but nobody did anything to help. Baumeister (2005)

Not sharing responsibilities and leaving a matter unsolved, expecting that somebody else will do something, is a clear example of diffusion of responsibility or also described as “social loafing” (Baumeister, 2005, p. 380), also mentioned as the free rider problem, Baumeister (2005); where you leave the work to the rest of the group while you lie around. It seems as if incidents or murders like the one described here, were sometimes protected by unwritten social laws which everyone is aware of but nobody dares to break them. (“Why people don’t help,” 1969), explains that people overly care about being embarrassed or looking uncool.

It also adds that people think they may be negatively influenced if they help and explains how, by doing nothing, a crowd might suggest that an incident is nothing to worry about. One could ask people in the street if they would help a stranger who’s life is in danger or who simply might be relieved from pain if they helped in any way they can and probably all sorts of answers would point towards a positive outcome, but when a real emergency arises, it seems the pressure from society is so great that onlookers seem to mentally paralyze.

To hypothetically test the pressure exerted by a crowd on an individual and his actions, we could recreate what happened to the woman in 1963 outside her apartment while several onlookers are present or we could also pretend to feel terribly ill on a train station and collapse, to find out who comes to our rescue right away or who might help without premeditating his or her actions, which, as we have seen, is a very common issue of an individual when among several people and help is needed.

Failure to help 6 References Baumeister, R. F. (2005). The cultural animal: Human nature, meaning, and social life. New York: Oxford University Press. Time. com. (1969, July 18). Why people don’t help. Time. Retrieved October 24, 2008, from http://www. time. com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,901077-1,00. html

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