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Disasters and crises bring out the best in us

Human Behaviour During Crises

Human beings may seem selfish and illogical during times of crisis, but there is evidence that disasters and crises bring out the best in us.

There are reports and sightings of people from different ethnic backgrounds and countries helping and motivating each other, providing much-needed support.

Communities all across the world are strengthening, with people volunteering to help in every aspect, spreading kindness, hope and charity.

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Disasters and crises bring out the best in us

Disasters and crises bring out the best in us

https://ideas.ted.com/disasters-and-crises-bring-out-the-best-in-us/

ideas.ted.com

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Key Ideas

Human Behaviour During Crises

Human beings may seem selfish and illogical during times of crisis, but there is evidence that disasters and crises bring out the best in us.

There are reports and sightings of people from different ethnic backgrounds and countries helping and motivating each other, providing much-needed support.

Communities all across the world are strengthening, with people volunteering to help in every aspect, spreading kindness, hope and charity.

Old Assumptions About Human Behaviour

Studying the natural disasters of the past, sociologists agree that while news reports lean towards the negative, a vast majority of people, good samaritans, doctors, nurses, government servants stay calm and help to the best of their abilities. While there can be panic and fear, caring for the other becomes common.

Economists and politicians often have views based on logical projection and past data, but human beings are an evolving race, and many assumptions now need to be overhauled.

Bad Times Are Good

A crisis helps draw awareness towards our fellow human beings, with our starting to embrace dependency, community, and solidarity, something not visible in normal circumstances.

Though we have to keep a physical distance in these strange times, we embrace each other more warmly.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Handling pandemics

When faced with threats so dangerous as the current pandemic, individuals may react in two main ways: they become whether more selfish or more caring in regards to the people around them. 

...

People's behavior in times of disaster

The available research on the topic mostly shows us that, when faced with a disaster, people tend to be more caring and more concerned about the ones around them. 

Different forms of selflessness are easily reachable by individuals during natural disasters.

Technology and solidarity

While technology may enable us today to stay connected with our friends, families as well as to keep working, it does not bring us the key to solidarity. 

The issue emerges whenever there are long periods of time that require social distancing, as individuals are forced to stay away from their group of friends or families. In order to still remain socially active, one might want to consider becoming more involved in the local community's activities.

Byproducts of Crises

Byproducts of Crises

During war times, the common man is least prepared for dealing with the drastic change of circumstances, displacement, loss of life of the self and loved ones, along with injury, loss of property a...

Benefits Of A Crisis

During the peak of World War II, where it was expected that the citizens would go through hell, the opposite happened. People turned out to be more resilient, driven and motivated during the war.

The looming threat of being dead at any time turned out to be beneficial for the mental conditions and toughness for the individuals. Suicides lessened, and social unity and community bonding increased manifold.

At Home With Adversity

  • We, as human beings are naturally adaptive to a disaster or crisis, and bad times are improving our morale and strengthening our community spirit.
  • Groups of people collaborating, caring for and working with each other, hand in hand, are the ones who are most likely to live through any crisis.
  • The necessary conditions that we need to flourish as individuals and as a species, ironically, emerge during bad times.

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Missing the signs

Missing the signs

There are many known psychological processes that cause individuals and organizations to miss the signs of a coming crisis – even when the signs are noticeable.

One reason is known as the...

Optimism bias

One possible reason for the "optimism bias" is found in the way we learn new information. People are quicker to change their beliefs when the information is better than expected, compared to information that is worse than expected.

  • If people were told that lockdown would be eased in two weeks, people would quickly update their beliefs. But if experts said it would last longer, people would be less likely to update their beliefs. They will make statements like "I don't really believe it" or "things change."
  • People may underestimate their personal risk of infection.
  • People may fail to adopt precautions like social distancing.

Outcomes bias

Outcomes bias it thinking that because things turned out reasonably good, we can underestimate how close they came to going wrong.

In the past 20 years, there have been two outbreaks of diseases caused by the new viruses. The outbreak of 2003 killed 774 people before it was contained, and the Mers outbreak in 2012 has killed 858. The new virus has far surpassed both.

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