The Bystander Effect: In front of my very eyes.

The bystander effect is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases where individuals do not offer any means of help in an emergency situation to the victim when other people are present.

The greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. The mere presence of other bystanders greatly decreases intervention. This happens because as the number of bystanders increases, any given bystander is less likely to notice the incident, less likely to interpret the incident as a problem, and less likely to assume responsibility for taking action.

Last night, after hanging out with some friends at the local bar, I ended up arriving back in my dorm room around 3am. Since I knew one of my friends was still awake, I started heading over to the other wing of the building. On my way there, I passed by the main entrance, where I saw a figure hunched over the railing outside. Concerned, I opened the door and asked if he needed to be let in. No response. I just figured he didn’t hear me, and asked again. No response. I assumed he wanted to be left alone and walked away.

Half an hour later, I passed by the main entrance once again and see the student still bent over outside – this time rocking back and forth, clearly unable to walk or support himself up without leaning against something, vomiting over the railing, occasionally falling to one knee on the concrete ground, and still unresponsive to questions I asked him. At this point, I was almost certain that he was suffering from alcohol poisoning. Although I wasn’t the RA on duty, I felt like I had to do something. After calling up one of my coworkers, we contacted the police and ambulance.

As we were waiting for them to arrive, I stood inside and observed several groups of students coming back from parties, walking directly past the victim and completely ignoring him. It then occurred to me, “What if I didn’t take action? Would someone else have called an ambulance? What if he had died from alcohol poisoning right in front of my building because everyone who saw him decided to do nothing?” It deeply disturbed me that no one had even attempted to ask if he was alright. Who knows how long he had been there! :o

Thankfully, the emergency team arrived in a timely manner. But it still bothered me that no one had made an effort to help him out sooner. =/ As a Health Care Management major, we study and analyze what makes the delivery of healthcare services more efficient. Human intervention is definitely a huge factor, but if the average person isn’t willing to step up and take responsibility, there’s really no way to move forward from there. What do you guys think?

In other news, I bought myself a pair of new headphones and a computer headset. Mostly because my earphones recently broke, and I’ve needed a gaming headset for a while now. Definitely worth the investment, since I would be using both all the time. :) I went with a pair of black Skullcandy Lowrider headphones. They’re definitely stylish, but didn’t live up to my standards.

Perhaps it’s because I wear them over my hair, but they tend to slip around (but not off). The padding at the top of the headphones is super comfy, and the sound quality is above average, but I hate that I can’t turn my music up all the way without the rest of the world being able to hear it too. :< I do give it credit for some noise reduction, but I just wish it would fit me more snugly.

As for my new Logitech H110 headset, it does the job. I didn’t expect much more than the minimum, since I bought it for so cheap at $15 in my school’s bookstore. I’ll be using it for the convenience of talking on Skype for gaming purposes from now on. Hopefully, it will last. >.<; It does slide off sometimes, but I’m 90% sure it’s because I wear it over my hair. And although the microphone is about the same quality as my built-in laptop mic, it does block out significantly more external noise (aka my roommate’s tv). I’m not a hardcore techie, so I’m pretty satisfied with it. :D

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6 responses to “The Bystander Effect: In front of my very eyes.

  1. Wow, that is actually very scary, but like always, knowledge is power. Knowing about the bystander effect and both having a conscious sense of responsibility is what it’s all about when it comes to looking after other people. You did the right thing, super proud of you :*

  2. improperintegirl

    You wanna know what’s really scary, when I was working at the movie theater, coming back from my break I noticed a little girl throwing a tantrum of sorts. I saw she was alone and watched her for a little bit (whenever I see a child or dog alone I always watch to see if their parent is around), and when I noted no parent, I asked her if she was lost. She stopped crying and said yes. So I walked her to customer service to have them find her parents.
    This was a kid. She could’ve been kidnapped…

  3. That is really frightening. Go you for being the super RA/awesome person. Especially on a campus, people would most likely pass that person and just shake their head and say “yikes another drunk college student” rather than be concerned.

    Btw nice new headphones & headset! I used to have a pair of Skullcandies myself! Try a Sennheiser brand next time (sometimes hey go on sale at FYEs or Amazon for cheaper than the expensive original price. A friend got his for only $20).

    • I admit to having the same assumption sometimes, but this was the first time I encountered a drunk student who was COMPLETELY unresponsive. D: It was indeed very frightening.

      And I’ll definitely look into the brand when I wear these ones out. :P I’ll probably end up giving them to my brother because I love showering him with gifts and surprises. XD

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