NBC Today: People Ignore 7 Year Old Girl Being Abducted

What would you do if you witnessed a 7 year old girl being abducted in broad daylight? Would you rush to the child’s aid? Would you call the police? As security specialist Bill Stanton demonstrated, people in general were more likely to:

  1. ¬†Blatantly ignore the child’s cries
  2. Cross the street
  3. Walk right past the kidnapper

Bill Stanton’s experiment shockingly illustrated the psychological phenomenon known as¬†The Bystander Effect.

This does not mean that everyone who chose not to help was uncaring. Some persons showed their concern by repeatedly looking back to assess the situation. However the point is that concern, in itself, would not have been enough to prevent the kidnapping from taking place. Action was needed. Most persons who chose not to get involved, believed that someone else would assume responsibility and take control of the situation. As clearly outlined in the video, such assumptions can be deadly.