Prosocial Behavior and the Bystander Effect Essay

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According to Aronson, Wilson, and Akert (2013) prosocial behavior is defined as an act performed for the benefit of another person. Altruism is referred to as the want to help another individual even if it means no benefits, or possibly a cost, for the helper (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2013). One particular factor, the bystander effect, has a profound impact on whether or not people help others. The bystander effect states that as the number of people who witness an emergency increases, the likelihood that any of those people will help decreases (Aronson et al., 2013). Processes associated with the bystander effect such as pluralistic ignorance, diffusion of responsibility, and victim effect all impact the likelihood of prosocial…show more content…
Also, individuals think that since there are plenty of people around, someone else is bound to help. Lastly, whether or not people help is impacted by the victim effect. This often refers to whether or not the victim is identifiable or simply a statistic. According to Kogut and Ritov (2005), the emotional reaction to victims appears to be a significant source of the effect. Victims who are singular and describable, such as a young girl getting hit by a car, are likely to elicit more distress in on-lookers than a larger group of individuals, listed as a statistic that gives no real, identifiable qualities of the victims (Kogut & Ritov, 2005). This concept is representative of the evolutionary and empathy-altruism approaches in prosocial behavior. People are more likely to respond prosocially to those who are most like them, such as a relative or someone of like characteristics (Aronson et al., 2013). If a victim is described in detail, it is more likely that people will identify, emphathize, and react prosocially. Social and cultural pressures, as well as beliefs about the self will influence helping behaviors. In an emergency, both informational and normative social influences are impacting whether an individual helps another. People look for queues from others in order to determine if the current situation requires action to be taken. Also, people will do things simply to be accepted by the group (Aronson et al., 2013). In any
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