This issue takes a provoca­tive look at “the psychology of the bystander”: What is it that induces some people to come to the aid of others in distress, while other people do nothing? Scien­tists have consid­ered this ques­tion for years. Now Greater Good exam­ines the fruits of their research and applies it to contem­po­rary ethical issues concerning:

  • Educa­tion — How can we teach kids to stick up for peers who are bullied, rather than remaining passive spec­ta­tors?
  • Jour­nalism — When should reporters inter­vene in the stories they cover, and when should they not?
  • War — What can we learn from stories of people who demon­strate great “civil courage,” risking their lives to save others during wartime?
  • Plus — An inter­view with Philip Goure­vitch about why nations do or don’t inter­vene in foreign conflicts.
  • An essay by famed psychol­o­gist Philip Zimbardo — 35 years after his Stan­ford Prison Exper­i­ment revealed the banality of evil, Zimbardo and co-author Zeno Franco explore “The Banality of Heroism
  • Idea for the Greater Good” (pdf down­load) by best-selling author Daniel Goleman
  • A photo essay a powerful piece from New Orleans Times-Picayune photog­ra­pher Ted Jackson.

Go to For daily updates on the science of altruism and compas­sion, visit the new Greater Good blog.