Born to be Good?
In her paper, Celia Kitzinger gave explanations to why people act the way they do to other people who may be in pain or other types of suffering. She gives examples of studies done that help to explain the reasons behind many of our actions. The way a young child will try to comfort another child who is crying or upset. The way people in general will do whatever they can so another does not have to go through some hardship or worse, torture. One of the examples she gave was of a study done where an individual was subjected to a series of electrical shock and the person made to watch was given the choice to either take the other persons place or leave immediately. Researches found that people who had strong emphatic feelings volunteered to take the workers place even when told they could leave immediately if they refused.
She also gives reasons why some people just stand around while another person may be getting injured or killed. In her paper she says this is called the 'bystander effect', where people will not react because they are unsure about what they are seeing, and they conform to the behavior of others, who are equally unsure.
I agree with her on many of her points. I think people are born with a certain ability to sense when others are suffering. It is only as we grow older we begin to understand why some people are so ready to act upon their senses. If you think back and try to remember when the first time you felt empathy toward another person you would probably be hard pressed to come up with an accurate guess. Since most people have been taught tolerance and acceptance of...