Scope-severity paradox, or a problem of shoes
Research shows that as responsiveness to people who are victims of some problem increases, the likelihood of taking action to reduce the problem decreases. Or the scope-severity paradox:
The inspiration for the study was the observation that we tend to focus an extraordinary amount of attention and resources to crimes that have a really small number of victims, and have a harder time remaining engaged to larger scale kinds of crime,” said psychologist Loran Nordgren of Northwestern University, lead author of the paper August 25 in Social Psychological and Personality Science.
It has to do with the way empathy works:
People empathize with people by putting themselves in the other persons shoes. The more shoes there are, the harder it is to empathize with any single individual. People don’t multiply their feelings of empathy by the number of people involved.
Consider putting yourself in others’ shoes — but perhaps far fewer of them next time.