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The psychology of panic buying

bbc.com

Panic Buying

The world is seeing panic buying in supermarkets, with items like toilet paper, milk, soda, hand sanitizers, etc. flying off the shelves, especially in places with confirmed cases of the virus.

Panic buying is a psychological mechanism fueled by anxiety along with a herd mentality....

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Downsides of Panic Buying

  • Panic buying makes people feel in charge of the situation, while seemingly mundane measures like hand-washing, which are actually impactful, seem ordinary.
  • The problem comes when people overbuy in their over-panicked state of mind (irrational stockpiling), making the shortages worse ...

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Loss Aversion

..is a principle which makes people do things so that they don't feel regretful later. 

People are panic-buying for the same reason too, with social media and news media amplifying the sense of scarcity.

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Fake News And Lack Of Trust

Experts point out that panic buying can be a result of a lack of trust in the government.

If public fears are not addressed on time, fake news can induce panic. Better preparedness at all times for possible emergencies can be a way to reduce this among the public.

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