Showing posts from February, 2014

The Bird and the Bystanders

A crowd had gathered around a washed up Guillemot on Brighton beach. Frequent storms this winter have weakened many sea birds, causing them to get stranded on beaches around the English coast. Many casualties were covered in oil. Rather than use their initiative and find a solution, the bystanders faffed about. Some filmed the bird on their smart phones; others talked at length about doing something, but then failed to act. Humans may think they have freewill, but it is well established that they behave in highly predictable ways, especially when in groups. A phenomenon called the diffusion of responsibility causes individuals in a large group to refrain from helping a stricken person, bird or animal. This is regardless of personality, culture or socio-economic status. We are all capable of walking past someone who has collapsed in the street. I decided to phone the RSPCA. It's fairly straightforward: one has to look them up on Google, tap the Call icon and navigate t

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