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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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.

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.

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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. 

While one might feel fear or even aggression towards the other, it is useful to try to develop, as much as possible, the compassion and the empathy for the persons who might be at more risk than ourselves.

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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 and mental trauma.

Social and financial distress, loss of morale, and death of innocents are the byproducts of war, the effects of which are felt on the common man for decades.

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" where people think they have a better than average prospect or are overly optimistic about their own future.

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