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What would you do if you saw someone in trouble? Would you rush in to help, or would you assume that someone else would likely come to the person’s aid? While we like to think that we would leap to action, research has found the people are less likely to take action in these instances when there are a lot of other people present.

This is called the BYSTANDER EFFECT.


Do you see the bystander effect ever happen in your life?  Have you ever seen anybody bullied and wanted to step in, but something stopped you?  Have you ever stepped in ANYWAY?  Have you ever been bullied yourself and nobody came to your aid?

We want to change the BYSTANDER EFFECT into something better—we want bystanders to HAVE AN EFFECT… for the better!  That’s called BYSTANDER INTERVENTION.

We’re going to talk about that more in upcoming blogs.  So for now… just stop and think: Have you seen the Bystander Effect in action?  Wouldn’t it be better if people actually could step in to help each other?  How would the world be different if that happened more often?  What are your thoughts?  Share them with us!

Leave a comment


  1. Sarah Worrell

     /  October 11, 2012

    I saw a wonderful bystander intervention last week as I was walking into the grocery store. An elderly woman was walking out of the store when she dropped her bag of grocercies when crossing the parking lot. The first two cars waiting for her to pass simply drove around her as she struggled to pick up her run-away food. The third car, however, stopped, got out, and helped her collect her things. As soon as this happened, several people who were standing around also came to help.

    I think that just as much as the bystander effect can create more aloofness and stagnation, bystander intervention can create action and kindness. Don’t be a bystander!!

    • Hey, Sarah! I think that’s an excellent point! Often times if just ONE person steps forward, other people who have been hesitating on the outskirts go, “Hey! I can help too!” and they will also step in. It’s like a landslide of good intentions! If one person acts to help, it gives permission for others to act on their “better angels” as it were. So helping someone can produce effects even greater than just your own actions if it triggers actions in others!


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