Whenever we find ourselves in a situation where someone needs help, we often wonder whether or not we should. Often times we just pass by the victim, assuming that someone else will take responsibility. At the same time, we don’t want to be seen as apathetic bystanders, so when do we help? Latane and Darley came up with a model illustrating the steps of when people help:
When we were talking about these steps in class, my first thought was of a clip from the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie which offers an example of not helping, and an example of helping (skip ahead to 3:51):
Elizabeth explicitly told Norrington that she couldn’t breathe, but he was so preoccupied with his own thoughts that he didn’t interpret her statement as one of emergency. It wasn’t until she fell over the wall that he noticed the emergency and tried to help. However, he no longer assumed responsibility after his men told him it was too dangerous to jump in after her.
Jack on the other hand noticed the emergency, and, after asking his companions if they were going to help, assumed the responsibility of saving Elizabeth. Thus we have two models of how people make decisions on whether or not to offer help.