Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Conformity & the Brain

I am puzzled! Several friends of mine went to a gathering that practiced social distancing guidelines--except no one was wearing masks. So, my friends took theirs off. Now they all have tested positive for COVID-19 and some are very ill. I do not understand this!

 What don’t you understand? That they went to the meeting or that they removed their masks? Studies from 114 countries have shown that some people have a very hard time NOT going along with what their friends or a group of people are doing. They do not want to stand out. Some have dubbed that “the herd mentality.” Other studies have shown that within a period of three years’ time, people tend to take on the habits and practices of the 4-5 people with whom they spend the most time. Snow skiers who had reservations about skiing on a specific mountain went along with their friends and then perished in an avalanche. Those who have reservations about trying a specific illegal drug took it anyway and ended up in a mental health institution with a psychotic break. Those who did not think they needed to wear a helmet while biking or skate-boarding had an accident and ended up with a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Sometimes conforming to the group is in one’s best interest. Other times it is not. A recent study found that people tended to follow or reject pandemic recommendations not because of what the science said, but based on how their close social circle behaved. More tomorrow.

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