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Human Behavior in Survival Situations

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Tagged As: Society

Some behavioral researchers recently made some interesting conclusions regarding human behavior for survival. They looked at survival statistics for two ill-fated ships, the Titanic and the Lusitania. Each ship sank within three years of each other carrying approximately the same number of passengers and with a nearly identical survival rate of 67%. The difference between the two was how long it took the vessel to sink; the Titanic went down in just under three hours while the Lusitania sank in eighteen minutes. The researchers were curious if there would be a commonality between the two with regards to who survived and based their analysis on a multitude of factors like passenger class, age, marital status, children, etc. They expected to find that a propensity for women and children to be granted lifeboat access with the greatest casualties in the middle-aged, single men down in steerage. Instead, they found nearly the exact opposite on the Lusitania and came to the conclusion that in a short span of time, self-preservation nearly trumps all notions of chivalry whereas with a long enough timespan to "calm down," people begin behaving by social norms again regardless of circumstance.

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