Motivation and Perception: Bystander Apathy

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The topic of chapter nine in Latané and Darley’s book, The Unresponsive Bystander: Why Doesn’t He Help? Is about the bystander’s point of view and their reasons behind why they do not help. Why and why not the bystander intervenes is a psychological perspective that does have an answer whether it being because they feel physically in danger, afraid of legal circumstances, or they just do not believe it is serious. A Bystander faces several dilemmas while they contemplate help. In The Unresponsive Bystander: Why Doesn’t He Help? Latané and Darley said “If he does not intervene, he may feel empathetic distress at a victim’s continuing unhappiness, shame from the actual or implied reproach from other people, and guilt for failing to live up to his own standards of behavior” (1970). If a bystander chooses not to help he may feel useless and feel really bad about himself like he can not help anybody. Or in some cases the bystander can feel shame by others around him and feel they didn’t pursue their role as a helping citizen. When a bystander does decide to get involved, they could be taking a big risk. There could be legal consequences, such as a doctor trying to help someone and they perform the wrong means necessary and now facing a law suit against them. “The intervening bystander may find himself confronted with the agent of disaster…” (Latane and Darley, 1970, p79). The bystander feels that if he gets himself involved, he then is endangering himself with the risk of the attacker then attacking him, or getting himself hurt then making the situation worse than making it better. He may become ridiculed by his peers for allowing himself to become acknowledged of the situation in the first place because it was “their problem” and he “shouldn’t have got involved.” Also, the bystander does not feel obligated or reinforced to help because a “hero” does not receive

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