Saturday, October 22, 2011

Inhumane or just human nature?

The incident that just happened in China with Yue Yue, a toddler has caused an international uproar. Before I continue, if you don't already know what happened, check this video out:

Was a recent scene that sparked interest in China, and not for good reason. A 2 year old toddler was knocked by a van(hit and run), bleeding on the street, and 18 passer-bys actually walked past her when she was bleeding and not help untill a garbage collector saw her and decided to call for help. It got worse when her legs got rolled over again a second time around. She passed away two days ago.

As many of you who read my blog may know, I am currently a PhD student in developmental psychology. Many readers and friends alike have asked me to actually start writing a psychology related blog but I haven't got the time(excuses! I know) and still don't. But after watching and reading about Yue Yue, I'vd decided to come up with my "psychology related posts" from time to time. Tell me your thoughts on it ok?

Psychology 101 begins...... (LOL)

From a psychological perspective, why didn't those bystanders help Yue Yue when she was lying there? My first thought of the reason was the Bystander effect. What is that?

It's when people in general (Yes, Humans which mean anyone of you reading this) do not offer any help when other people are present. The worst part is, that the rate of helping decreases when the amount of people increases because they don't want to assume responsibility if they help which leads to the other psychological term "diffusion of responsibility". Many people think "There's so many people already, I am sure someone will help". The other fact is that people don't think it is important enough because other people are not helping as well.

A woman died on the New York hospital floor for an hour before being found that she was dead even when there were people there


I am not trying to justify for the incident that happened with Yue Yue but so many news channel and newspaper say it's because of the declining morality in China,etc. BUT so many other similar incidents have happened before, many more in other countries such as the USA. Can you imagine that 60 women were stripped and groped in New York Central park by agressive and drunk men and no one helped? OMG!

Here is another scary case  of a girl being abducted:

With Yue Yue's case, it was another bystander effect that happened at the cost of a toddler's life. In a way, it's not a case of morality but rather human nature because it has been shown time and time again that people don't help especially when there are tons of people around. What you can do instead of being shocked and saying nasty things about others is to actually HELP when it happens and to educate people about this effect that actually occurs.

And...when it comes time to NOT be involved, these Malaysians do the total opposite....LOL

Hope it helped. I would love emails and comments of what happened and would a "Psychology related series of posts" be helpful?



MayOliciOus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Choi May, Wong said...

These 18 passer-bys actually choose to ignore her, coz part of it is due to another case in China. An old man was injured in the middle of the street, and a kind hearted stranger helped the old man and sent him to hospital. What happen was the old man and his family accused the kind hearted stranger for the caused of the old man's injury and he needed to pay a certain amount to them. Referring to this article(, the first van’s driver contacted the media before turned himself to the police, and said:
“If she is dead, I may pay only about 20,000 yuan ($3,125). But if she is injured, it may cost me hundreds of thousands yuan.”
Since that case, everyone in China is on the 'none of my business' term to say. Its really sad that this is happening to the world.

KilllRoy said...

First and foremost, I must ask what level of a discussion you intend to spur here? Is it reserved for experts or learned academics in the field of psychology, or relegated to the common person to just voice their opinions?

If it is the former, disregard anything Im going to say lol. If its the latter then I would like to participate, based on my pseudo-academic and objective observation of human behaviour -if that counts :P

Oh well, here goes nothing...

Remembered that time when we spoke about cultural values?

With regards to placing emphasis on predominantly Asiatic model of micro nucleus-family-based camaraderie (say it fast 10 times lol)


The predominantly Caucasian model of macro community-societal based courtesy, on which one was better for the development of healthy psychology as a whole?

Well, this Yue Yue incident happened in China (Asiatic model), as the video shows, the mother (intra-nucli family) was absolutely devastated by the event yet the passerbys (extra-nucli) seemed impartial or dispassionate.

Im not expressively stating whether one model is superior in every way to the other, but in this context and for the interest of this discussion, the Caucasian model MIGHT have prevented the girl’s death.

Aside from the circumstances raised in the comments above, about the legal precedent set by a previous judge (that helping implies guilt), because since much emphasis has been given to intra-nucli ties, anything that resides outside of it is given 2nd hand attention, or none at all.

Humble Narcissist said...

Whether or not a human being is capable of adopting two models at one time, is up to debate la, dont have any concrete proof proving for or otherwise, but there are rare examples - (like you I guess?)

Also, China in the last 100 years have been through much cultural transformation, from 2,000 years of imperialistic rule to communism to neo-communism, the perception of “morality” or “social values” have been through radical changes both ways.

Sociology of the masses, has a big and direct impact on Psychology of One (or 18).

(Very sweepingly speaking) China, after toppling one too many despots, are generally afraid of hailing a “hero” in their midst. Though they do have the societal view of “Society before One”, any form of recognition is generally not very welcome, an example is the saying “Tall poppies must be cut”. The humility factor plays a part as well, such as:

Chinaman A: Great job!
Chinaman B: Eh, “bu gan bu gan” (i dont dare to take credit)
Scenes like these are all too familiar in Asiatic movies.

Now the otherside of the coin, the Caucasian model (for the lack of a better name), highly values individuality and heroism. I guess this model in this case is better because intra-family members can be viewed as individuals, therefore, one can perceive a girl lying bleeding on the streets as an individual, whether or not they are their family members,

where else Society at large, cannot be regarded as one within one’s household (China is a big country lol) A girl lying on the street bleeding cannot be seen as “family”, but as one belonging to the set of “society”, therefore societal rules apply.

Heroism: Caucasian (American?) trends value this, and is deemed to be shameful for one not to step up to aid or sacrifice in times of need (jumping on a grenade for example), which was how the whole news story gets blown up in the first place.

American A: Good job!
American B: I did what I could.

or in some cases may share the recognition with others

American B: Thanks, but American C helped too!

Scenes like these are also common in American movies.

That is if cinema reflects the cultural norms or behaviour of any given society during the time the film was made.

I digress.

Inhumane or human nature?

Inhumane, hard to argue otherwise. Seeing a fellow man (or girl) staring down the face of death yet not lifting a finger to help.

The question is not “or” but rather “how much” of human nature. If the nurture of our nature is built from societal pressure and coaching, then the nurture is against “human nature” -Since we have largely evolved to be a communal species.

BUT the line of ‘species’ have been drawn again and again, cut to size by other cultural norms such as religion, creed, race, or in this case, social acceptance.

elaineliew said...

Human personality differs like thumbprint,unlike superhero movies. As for me,a Christian at heart, I will help the poor toddler Yue Yue substantially.

Mei Sze said...

Choi May: Yea, I heard about that case in China where the person who helped actually was accused...The judge was probably bribed..but I feel that it shouldn't be teh case that no one helps anymore:( But it just doesn't happen in China, it happnes in teh rest of the world as well..thanks for your input! I really appreciate have you been btw?

KillRoy and Humble narcissist: I actually beg to differ taht teh caucasian or the western model may actually's actually not true because there were so many cases in which they didn't help as highlighted by my videos and many's a psychological effect that makes many not care... It's actually worse of in a western country because they are individualistic "every man for himself" rather than collectivist which emphasizes social harmony more.this post is meant to create awareness that people out there should know about this and actually mobilize themselves to help in the future.

Elaine: I am glad you would help :) But talking about human nature, I would say that it's the psychologcial effect coming into play to diffuse responsibility to others and seeing that no one is helping, they think it's not that important as well.... we humans basically rely on others to actually act..but good on you for deciding to take action.

iwan said...

humanity is slowly faded...there's nothing we can do about had to be nurtured..its not something that we can simply learn in a like a true physiology expert to a true ones... lols