Diffusion of Responsibility

Diffusion of responsibility is a concept that has been employed in several fruitful ways in psychology. First, consider a collection of persons, strangers, that faces an unexpected situation, such as that of a person who is suddenly in distress. Intuitively it is clear that each member of the collection of persons feels less responsibility to intervene in the situation than does a solitary individual who, knowing he or she is the sole witness, faces the same crisis alone. The solitary individual knows that if help is to come, it must come from him or her, while a witness who is a member of a crowd reasons that there are many other persons who could provide help.

Any reluctance a person has to intervene in this situation ...

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