Why are some people compelled to help others in an emergency while others stand idle? There are many social and psychological factors that enter into this equation. The two biggest obstacles to intervention are if people feel there are other witnesses to an emergency so they feel less personal responsibility to help and to mistake another personâ€™s calm demeanor as a sign that no actual emergency is taking place.
There has been much research done by social scientists about the phenomenon of the bystander. Researchers have found many altruistic people share some deep personality traits. Children who have a stronger sense of attachment to others typically feel a stronger sense of responsibility for the welfare of others. Parents who exhibit and model tolerance, care and empathy toward their children and other people different from themselves instill these values in their children.
However, there is evidence that if people are given the proper tools and shown how to respond positively in a crisis, most people have the ability to become an active bystander and change the outcome in an emergency situation. An active bystander can get people to focus on a problem and motivate them to take action.
This model of passive versus active bystander transcends well beyond acute emergency situations. If people choose to take personal responsibility, cultivate an awareness of others around them and choose to be proactive; be it in a social, professional or relationship setting, positive outcomes can be achieved.
We can help ourselves and others achieve success and fulfillment.
This is a good time of year to take some time to reflect and do an inventory to see if our personal values, morals and actions define who we aspire to be.