Imagine you enter an apparel store to shop, and you notice an item that has been put on discount. It’s a great bargain at $29, but you suspect foul play. As it’s the identical item you found to be priced at the same price a fortnight earlier. Now, you might think that there’s a mistake on the staffs’ part. But alas, you are wrong as this is a classic example of luring customers to buy a product that was valued at the same price without a discount. The customers are induced to think that they have obtained a product at a better deal than others.
Apart from such tactics, human behaviour reacts in such an unanticipated manner to situations in which humans are placed. It has, for a long time, amazed psychologists to study the abnormal actions of humans in different circumstances. Hence, to get right to the point, this article will tread through such instances where the reaction of a person or a group of people amused or shall I say bewildered everyone. These cases focus on how human nature can handle the conditions in such bizarre ways. So let’s dive right into it.
- Stockholm Syndrome (Money Heist shed some light on this phenomenon and this explanation will bring the reason to fore) – The term was coined in 1973 by Nils Bejerot when four people were taken as hostages in a failed bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden. What led to this term being coined was the unwillingness of the hostages to testify in court against their captor who had held them captive for 6 days in a bank’s vault. The rationale behind such reluctance was said to be the psychological bonding of the captives with the captors and confirming with the captor’s conditions for taking such steps. It stated that there’s a certain level of emotional bonding which may have been caused by fear, anxiety, and the danger to one’s life. Though this syndrome hasn’t been widely recognised due to lack of required academic research nonetheless people suffer from this syndrome when in situations of sexual abuse, terror, or any type of aggression.
- Bystander Effect – This effect came into light in 1964. The situation was that a woman was threatened, abused and murdered in a public place. Reports mentioned that there were a substantial number of onlookers who noticed this ordeal but took no steps to either catch the criminal or call law enforcement. Though, the police reached the spot of murder shortly afterwards as they were informed by a good Samaritan. But this incident brought focus on the non-action of those who witnessed the murder, as it was concluded that the chances of a victim being helped by an individual reduces as the number of people present increases. This happens because subconsciously each person thinks that as there are a large number of people present, at least one of them will take corrective action. But, this thought also plagues the mind of others and hence none of them takes the initiative.
- The Paradox of Choice – Has it ever happened to you when you opted for the best product from a large pool but then felt bad for your choice as it wasn’t able to live up to your expectations? Worry not, this problem is faced by almost everyone. As the number of alternatives to decide from increases, one might think it is for the better, but it’s the exact opposite. The variety of products makes you reluctant to buy one as you weigh the pros and cons. Even if you buy the most suitable one for your purpose, you will suffer from buyer’s remorse. It was stated that an overabundance of choices can lead to anxiety, indecision and dissatisfaction. To know more about it, I recommend the book ‘The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less’ by Barry Schwartz. In it, he elaborates the reason and links it to the inherent human greed for things not in his possession.
- Zero Risk Preference – This case is mainly applied in areas concerning mitigation of disasters, safety, environment. It states that when anyone is given an option to either completely eliminate the risk of lower magnitude or to drastically scale down a higher magnitude risk, most people fixate on the former even though it is counterproductive to the cause. To elaborate, you are given two alternatives, first, you have the power to bring down the suicide rate to zero, and second, you have the ability to drastically reduce the murder rate. It’s highly probable that most of the people would choose the first option. The understanding behind this decision is that the full removal of an unwanted thing weighs more than reducing a bigger hindrance drastically. Many times, this type of option selection has been tagged as being myopic and discouraged due to limited reduction in overall risk aversion.