Chapter 10 discusses diffusion of responsibility—a belief that others will help someone in need, leading to a lessened sense of individual responsibility and a lower probability of helping. In this assignment, you will explore how diffusion of responsibility is exhibited in a real-world setting. To conduct this demonstration, when you are at work, on campus, or in some other public situation, act as if you need help with some minor problem. For example, you can look around confusedly while looking at your phone or drop something that will scatter a bit. Choose something innocuous and harmless to yourself. Do this a couple of times: once when there are several people present and once when there are only one or two people around.

After you complete these actions, write down your notes right away. Using your notes, compose an essay addressing the following points.

Describe what you did and how it indicated a need for help to others.

Explain the behavioral response to the situation when many people were present and when only a few people were present, including any differences between the two conditions.

Discuss whether the response you received fit with the textbook’s discussion of the bystander effect. If your demonstration did not work out, explain why you think it might not have.

Describe a behavior that may elicit an aggressive, rather than a helping, response. Discuss whether you think the likelihood of an aggressive response would differ when many versus few people were present. Compare this pattern of aggressive responses to helping responses.

Draw on research from the textbook or another resource to support your answers.

Your response should be at least two pages in length. You must use at least one source as a reference in your paper. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying citations. Please format your paper and all citations in accordance with APA guidelines.


Diffusion of Responsibility

Diffusion of Responsibility

            We do not need help only during emergencies since the external effort or input is required in everyday situations. We abandon or ignore group projects for individual succor (Behnk, Hao, & Reuben, 2017). We always think that the other person has something else to do or problems will take care of themselves.  I can relate to this situation, where I was amidst a group setting.  I experienced a seizure in a meeting. Despite experiencing a problem, the group seemed reluctant to help me.  It was usual that the people around me did not bolster me. The group being the community, did not see enough reason to support me. Due to many participants in the meeting, the possibility of the group taking responsibility was very low.  The choice between action and inaction depended on who is remorseful or quick to react to the situation.

            Analyzing the mammoth crowd’s behavioral responses during that event, I can settle that most of the individuals feared being perceived as messianic. People have the perception that there will be scornful remarks uttered.  Some people held back to help because they would depict a picture of hypocrisy.  Due to the high number of attendees, they thought they are different from the other. Again, the thought “it so much work to help one person, yet there are other persons who can play the same role arises.” The higher the number of persons present, the uncertainty to intervene increases because people assume that they have nothing to offer (Behnk, Hao, & Reuben, 2017). I think if the group was small, people would be prosocial and help men. Even though there would be hesitation, it would not take long before giving a helping hand because I was helpless.  A reduced group feels competent and confident.  There is a high chance that few people know me as an individual and have a personal connection.

           From the reaction, I received after the seizure is relatable to the bystander effect. The great number of people present was reluctant to help me. None of them was ready to take responsibility.  The colossal group hindered the hardly any who would help me. They were discouraged because they were not sure how they would help their colleagues think of them (Hortensius & de Gelder, B2018). They might have chosen to be bystanders due to a lack of confidence or citing inefficiency.  My situation fits the bystander effect because the crowd was conflicted, unsure, and nervous.

              Violent attacks, especially during a robbery, elicit aggressiveness. As the aggressor tries to flee from the crime scene, the victim is moved to recover his/her possessions .s/he chases after, screams, or attacks the aggressor if the robbery is in a public space. Since there are passersby and witnesses, the victim thinks they can intervene and help recover them. The general community spurs aggressive behavior and come together to confront the aggressor as they wait for the police. The victim relies upon the community, which shows a sign of cooperation.  There would not be much different if witnesses were few because it is an aggressive case.  People would put themselves in the shoes of the victim and try all means to help. Aggression awakens a quick response because the victim might be harmed or lose valuable possessions. Again the community is always geared towards maintaining its integrity by censuring destructive behaviors.


Behnk, S., Hao, L., & Reuben, E. (2017). Partners in crime: Diffusion of responsibility in antisocial behaviors.

Hortensius, R., & de Gelder, B. (2018). From empathy to apathy: The bystander effect revisited. Current Directions in Psychological Science27(4), 249-256.