Psychic Numbing and Mass Atrocity
In E. Shafir (Ed.), The behavioral foundations of public policy (pp. 126–142). NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013.
18 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2011 Last revised: 10 Jul 2018
Date Written: April 14, 2011
The 20th Century is often said to be the bloodiest century in recorded history. In addition to its wars, the century witnessed many grave and widespread human rights abuses. But what stands out in historical accounts of those abuses, perhaps even more than the cruelty of their perpetration, is the inaction of bystanders. Why do people and their governments repeatedly fail to react to genocide and other mass scale human rights violations?
“Psychic Numbing and Mass Atrocity” by Paul Slovic from THE BEHAVIORAL FOUNDATIONS OF PUBLIC POLICY edited by Eldar Shafir. Copyright © 2013 by Princeton University Press. Reprinted by permission. This material may not be distributed, posted, or reproduced in any form by digital or mechanical means without prior permission of the publisher. All rights reserved by Princeton University Press.
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