my notes ( ? )
the Oxford Circus panic ... was amplified by social media.... Fear can be transmitted digitally as easily as it can physically—and that’s a problem because digital technologies reach everyone.... the English-speaking world is in the middle of a fear pandemic... Cognitive biases leave us ill-equipped ... Amygdala hijacks and warped media business models are just the tip of the iceberg.
Recency bias means we give more weight to stuff we’ve heard recently: The latest cholera outbreak feels typical, but we forget ... global deaths are on the decline. The availability heuristic ... more weight to things easier to imagine. After decades of priming by news broadcasts and Hollywood thrillers, it doesn’t take much effort to picture that lone gunman... “concept creep,” ... If we’re looking for danger and it then disappears, we seek out new, lesser forms of danger to replace it. ...
unexpected signs of danger ... switches on the learning part of our brain... Every time we catch the fear “virus,” it leaves us more susceptible to the next outbreak... Here’s the real problem: By almost any measure, the world is becoming a better place... We’ve never had it so good, and yet we’ve never been more scared...
there is something we can do: Don’t let the fear virus get you. When the stories reach you, don’t “cough” and pass them on.
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