The more persons witnessing someone needing help, the greater the chance noone will lift a finger to help. One study, where there was one test subject exposed to sounds of someone falling and obviously needing help, showed that if the person was alone in the waiting room there was a 70% chance the person would get up and try to help. When there where other persons in the room with the test subject that chance slimmed down to a meager 7%.
This, my friends, is for real. Could you possibly die more alone than surrounded by strangers who wouldnt lift a finger to save you?
So why am I writing this? You think I'm just having another misantropic fit, do yah? ... Other studies shows that once you are aware of the bystander effect, you are more likly to resist it. BOOYAKAHSHA!!! Consider yourself ensorceled.
Looking for illustrations for this post I found this one at the Montclair Socioblog - not only does it look like a mighty interesting blog, but they have an amazing list of other sociological blogs. If you swing that way - check it!
Interesting thing though; when back when, when I lived in my hermitage, those years when solitude and bitterness was my only friends; I did, most strongly, feel the urge to help the world. I did think, beeing a genious and all, I was the only one who understood the roots and solutions to help this raped and beaten Gaia and her children.
Then, I did study sociolgy, and I realized that while I am a genious; roots and solutions and such are well known - but simply ignored. And then I did a few hundred hours of hardcore therapy. And then I felt much better, much less alone in the world, my existential angst was much relived; and Lo and behold - not only did I get better! The bystander effect hit me full force and I'm not really lifting a finger for neighter Haiti or the downtrodden masses anymore.
Could this explain academics and their ivory towers? Research that yo mådderfåkkas!!