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Santorski, Jacek

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Dziennik Gazeta Prawna - Poland | 29/04/2009

Jacek Santorski on the psyche, economic development and panic

Following the outbreak of swine flu economic psychologist Jacek Santorski analyses in the Polish daily Dziennik how the psyche, economic development and panicked behaviour are connected: "In the case of an outbreak of panic caused by the spread of an epidemic, the information that there is a 'miracle cure' – an effective serum or vaccine against the flu - is the best way to end the panic. ... Then the panic would turn into an eager search for the vaccine. Unfortunately we know that there is no such thing. ... People who earn a living making prognoses and on the financial markets are not interested in whether there's an epidemic. ... For them what's important is whether the panic is actually making an impact on the sale of oil, or how often people go to the cinema. But the factor that plays the greatest role is the psyche. And that in turn is influenced primarily by objective factors – such as how real the threat is perceived to be – and also by the information spread by the media."

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