Are We Too Apathetic To Fight Apathy?

2803 words, 12 pages

Intro Sample...

PS 301 Social Psychology


In the murder case of Kitty Genovese, 38 witnesses took no action to aid the victim despite being physically present and knowing that the murder was being committed. A study conducted in 1964 indentified this phenomenon as “Bystander Apathy.” I’ll be examining the causes of such apathy and how the severity can differ dependent on possible diffusion of responsibility. Also, is our society as a whole willing to sacrifice self-preservation in order to attain social affirmation (Tyrrell, 2009)? Discussing this issue in depth, we’ll see that statistically, people cave in when pressured to conform to the majority (Asch, 1951;1955).

Eleanor Roosevelt said it best:
“So much attention is paid to the... View More »

Body Sample...

In contrast to this, however, are the social norms of the worst kind: blind, apathetic conformity.
When an individual does not care enough to form an opinion on an issue, we may criticize them. After all, a man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. In my opinion though, it is the individual that has an opinion, that knows where they stand, knows right from wrong and STILL chooses inaction that should be held in the worse contempt of the two individuals.
Imagine this scenario: Queens, New York. The year is 1964. Friday, March 13 Catherine “Kitty” Genovese is just getting home. She is a 28 year old bar manager and had been working the late shift that night. As if out of nowhere, Kitty was attacked. The assailant was a man named Winston Moseley and his weapon of choice was a knife. Kitty screamed “Oh my God, I've been stabbed! Please help me!” You may ask how we know what she screamed; her screams were heard by more than one witness. It was later discovered that there were 38 of these bystanders, all of whom made no effort to help Kitty during or after the attack.

Why didn’t anyone even call the police? Well, because the person to their left and right was not taking action, of course.
When we are put into a group of people, whether we know it or not, our actions are almost wholly inhibited by their presence alone. This group can be as large as a packed stadium, a classroom, or even just one other person aside from you. My favorite example of just how strong of an influence others’ reactions have on yours is my son. Just yesterday my son was playing in the ...

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