The Normalcy Bias

The Normalcy Bias

[ I took this information was taken directly from the Chippewa County Health Department website, as it’s a perfect description of what the Normalcy Bias is.  It’s a very good explanation of what this is and how it effects people. ]

The normalcy bias is also known as the ostrich effect. It is also sometimes known as the incredulity response and analysis paralysis.

In situations of extreme danger, some people enter a mental state that is known as the normalcy bias. In this state, people deny that what is happening to them is really taking place. The normalcy bias can affect people who are under threat of persecution-such as minority groups in times of war. The normalcy bias may also be experienced in times of economic turmoil. The normalcy bias has severe consequences. When people don’t face the facts of an imminent disaster such as financial crisis, or act to protect their loved ones or their assets from danger that might be developing around them, the negative effect that the disaster has on them is much greater. People who face the situation early and start taking measures to alleviate the impact that the disaster has on their loved ones and their assets are more likely to survive the disaster and even, in some cases, benefit from it.

The Normalcy Bias – It Will Never Happen

The normalcy bias is often experienced when people have never had a situation happen to them before. They use the fact that an event has never happened to justify their belief that it will never happen. For an example of the ostrich effect, think of a country that has never experienced a weather disturbance such as a hurricane or typhoon. Some persons living in a country that has never had a hurricane, typhoon or tsunami would find it hard to believe that their country could be hit by one.

Anyone Can Experience Analysis Paralysis

Local government agencies might be unprepared to handle such a disaster if analysis paralysis causes them to underestimate its effects. Persons affected by the normalcy bias might make inadequate preparations in terms of emergency food, emergency shelter, or emergency medication, even after being warned about a possible hurricane, tsunami, or other weather disturbance that could have disastrous consequences. [Ed: Emphasis added]

Overcome Analysis Paralysis

Analysis paralysis can be beat with the following approach to dealing with an emergency or unforeseen event:

  1. Face the facts
  2. Check through possible options for dealing with the disaster

3. Choose the best option and take action immediately

Overcoming analysis paralysis by facing the facts, quickly checking through possible options for dealing with the disaster, choosing the best option and taking action immediately, can save lives and cut down on financial losses.

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