Skip to comments.A Psychologist Talks About Normalcy Bias and Situational Awareness (Why Don't People Prep?)
Posted on 09/12/2012 1:54:34 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum
Years ago when I was in junior high school, I had a shop teacher who would occasionally get exasperated with one of us and ask the question, What makes a man be that way? Its a question I find myself asking many times.
So what is it that keeps so many people from prepping? And how can it be overcome?
To talk about that on DestinySurvival Radio yesterday was clinical psychologist Dr. Steven Futrell. He was on the show a few weeks ago and you can read about that interview here. Yesterday Steven and I dissected two broad topicsnormalcy bias and situational awareness.
Normalcy bias is the idea that people believe nothing bad will happen because it hasnt happened before. Its also known as analysis paralysis, incredulity response or the ostrich effect. Of course, that last one refers to someone behaving like an ostrich who puts its head in the sand.
Many people cant get their head around the idea that things could get bad. Many simply refuse to accept the truth. It doesnt help when the media bombards us with the idea that were in economic recovery, even though they say it may be a slow one. Its easier and more comfortable to believe that kind of message.
Is there a way to move people beyond this and into prepping? Does FEMAs National Preparedness Message this month help? After all, authority carries a lot of sway with each of us. And maybe it takes a nudge from officials before people get it.
Nonetheless, even disasters like earthquakes, wildfires, Hurricane Katrina and more recently Isaac dont seem to move people. Its a real problem.
Its compounded by the fact that you and I have a credibility problem with friends and family members. Theyre prone to think were extremists or even nuts. Is there a way around this? Will asking probing questions motivate people to think? What about giving prepping related gifts?
Situational awareness is the opposite side of the coin. It means paying attention to your environment and those around you. And you dont have to be on a survival camping trek in the wilderness to put this into practice.
Its a good idea to anticipate possible problems and get mentally ready for them. Doing thought experiments can help. For example, ask yourself what youd do if you were mugged? How would you handle it if you lost your job?
But how do we determine what threats are real and which ones arent likely? Be objective. Ask yourself a few questions.
For example, how likely is it that youll be hit by a meteorite today? How relevant to your prepping are the events in todays news? Should you be frightened or persuaded by what so-called authorities are telling us?
Understand its not possible to prepare for absolutely everything. But we dont have to become overwhelmed. Focus. Prioritize. Dont try to do everything all at once. Take baby steps with your prepping endeavors.
Steven and I wrapped up our chat by talking about the typical reactions to the fight or flight response. Besides fight or flight, we may freeze up or surrender.
I raised the idea of how odd it was that no one disarmed the shooter at the Batman movie in Colorado earlier this summer. Was everyone so panicked they could only surrender in resignation? Was this a bad case of normalcy bias where such an event was incomprehensible? Wasnt that a situation when someone should have put himself at risk to save the lives of others?
Hear my entire discussion with Dr. Futrell by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for September 6, 2012.
By the way, I talked about two contests near the beginning of my show yesterday. One is the Be Sun Savvy contest, which Ill write more about here tomorrow. The second contest is one in which Im giving away my review copy of The Pulse, by Scott B. Williams. Listen to the show for details.
DestinySurvival Radio will be a best of show next week on the 13th. You can hear any show of your choice by going here.
What do you think? Have you had to overcome normalcy bias? Have you helped a friend or loved one overcome it? What worked? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Ping to read later.
Good article. Thanks for posting.
How hard it is to plan, just a little???
That's good advice. I've observed that most collisions involve someone making a left turn. It's a bad idea both practically and politically.
I think what’s going on right now is some of the worst normalcy bias I’ve witness. When you see some of the comments I have from what should be informed conservatives on prepping it bloggels the mind that they just don’t get where things are headed.
Another good article on Normalcy Bias from our own ChocChipCookie’s blog: Survival Mom
Normalcy Bias: Its All in Your Head
HA! So true.
Someone the other day described whats happening perfectly; they said its like being in a car wreck you are driving along you see a car coming at you hes not stopping for the red light theres no place for you to go you know for sure he is going to hit you and then everything slows down like a scene from some action movie the car coming seems to be crawling you can even see the surprise on the other drivers face. When he hits you the flying glass seems to hang in the air for a second and all the time there aint a damn thing you can do, but pray you survive.
Personally I we will see something much like the collapse of Argentina ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yerKMQc7-w&feature=grec_index )but on a global scale.
As far as the election either way it goes I believe we will soon see social unrest, the closer the election gets the more things will become like walking a mine field and a miss step and things can and will exploded.
Despite the CDCs tongue and cheek presentation for National Preparedness Month, there really are Zombies, just not the kind from George A. Romero films. They have been fed from the Governments stash and walked among us for years now and many have been caught on film, but it was in a movie it was for real:
These and many more like events show (Flash Mobs, OWS, etc) that we have a large entitlement minded population that is violent prone. I think that during a collapse you will see many small businesses wiped out by flash mob looting, and once started it will quickly spread to rape, robbery and murder for murder sake. You will see what I call pocket pogroms and if you aint Amish you better not be around when they come.
I am very much in agreement of the author of this article about what we can look forward to:
When The Music Stops How Americas Cities May Explode In Violence
Many of these zombies will think no more about killing you to get stuff than zombies in the lastest horror flick and do it just as gruesomely as any of the worse scenes in those same movies.
Many of you who have read my post know I often refer to this quote from Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Siege of AR-558 (#7.8) (1998)
Quark: Let me tell you something about Hew-mons, Nephew. Theyre a wonderful, friendly people, as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people... will become as nasty and as violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon. You dont believe me? Look at those faces. Look in their eyes.
It has repeated been shown throughout history that this is what happens to people once placed under such stressful conditions and yet you would be surprised how many people dont realize the transformations that can take place under such conditions. And because of their ignorance many wont even live long learn.
If you want to learn what happens I suggest you read some of Selcos firsthand experiences in Bosnia:
A Survival Q & A: Living Through SHTF In The Middle Of A War Zone
Clearly theres a storm coming, as great as a hurricane and like you do when a hurricane comes your way you either prepare to weather it or you become a victim of it.
For those who are just starting or are old hands at prepping you may find my Preparedness Manual helpfull. You can download it at:
NOTE! THIS IS A FREE DOWNLOAD. I DO NOT MAKE ONE CENT OFF MY PREPAREDNESS MANUAL!
For those of you who havent started already its time to prepare almost past time maybe. You needed to be stocking up on food guns, ammo, basic household supplies like soap, papergoods, cleaning supplies, good sturdy clothes including extra socks, underwear and extra shoes and boots, a extra couple changes of oil and filters for your car, tools, things you buy everyday start buying two and put one up.
As the LDS say When the emergency is upon us the time for preparedness has past.
Or as the bible says: A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
NIV Proverbs 22:3
There is no greater disaster than to underestimate danger.
Underestimation can be fatal.
The evil that resides in the WH will be giving the nation the business far and above any Mrs GBC could give on left hand turns. That evil is what we should be preparing for. Prepare for many more days like today between now and January. Prepare for day after day after day of this if he wins.
Your tp to food ratio seems low.
The weekly grocery ads are pages short this week and there is nothing really on sale. In fact, they’re running a whole page of “Everyday Prices” which sets off red lights that we’re looking at a huge jack up of prices any day.
You’re right. Those are Scott 20-roll (1,000 sheet/roll) packs and I only have 6 of them so far. So, unless I use the “Sheryl Crow Method” (heh), I’m way short. I’ll be picking-up another 6 20-roll packs this Sunday trip, and another 6 every week, until I fill-up the top tiers.
I plan to fill-up the top-tier shelves w/ 20-roll packs, 4 on bottom, dbl-stacked = 160 rolls per shelf top x 6 shelves. The PTs are 16-roll packs. 2 shelves of PTs, 3 16-roll packs x 2 shelves.
I have 10 more shelf units to set-up to store 360,000+ rounds of ammo, for 8 calibers, on the lower 4 of 5 shelves. More TP and PT on those shelves top tiers, too.
We also have a 40’x20’ underground “Safe Unit” w/ 3’ below deck storage, but this is the Farm’s basement “staging area”.
Visualize 2x this size’s width (scroll down for mfgr pics):
I do the same thing. There is grocery store next to where I work. Everybody tries to go in and out from the main drag. All you have to do is use either of the side streets to get in or out and you don’t have to mess with crossing traffic. It’s FASTER to turn onto one of the side streets.
You’re spot on; no coupons in the papers, but the local Giant and Weis do have many in-store/shelf 5-for, 10-for specials, so I stock-up on those, bigtime. I withdrew a lot of $ from bank today in 5s, 10s & 20s. Plus, I have 500+ rolls of nickels, dimes and quarters, in large ammo cans. SHTF is coming sooner than many realize.
I am not sure but I think that all cameras in cell phones have a dohicky that encodes location and date of the photo which can be decoded by people with the right software. Sort of like secret directions to the store.