Members in the Media
From: The Washington Post

The secret of extreme heroes: They don’t overthink

The Washington Post:

We grow up being taught to look before we leap and think before we act, especially in dangerous situations. In its booklet on dealing with “active shooters,” the Department of Homeland Security lists confrontation as the “last resort,” after, among other things, taking note of the nearest exits and locking yourself in an office. Police tell us not to confront someone “armed and dangerous.” And our spouses and other loved ones tell us, “don’t be a hero.”

If you stop to contemplate whether to act when the danger actually confronts you, you probably won’t, the study suggests.

And the answer to the the question “what were they thinking when they risked their lives?” is that they weren’t thinking, at least not very much. They just did it. If you think about it too much, you won’t.

Yale scholar David Rand called it the “danger of deliberation” in an interview with The Washington Post, and it appears to be the biggest deterrent to what he calls “extreme altruism.”

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

More of our Members in the Media >


APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Comments will be moderated. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines.

Please login with your APS account to comment.