by Amanda Ripley, author of The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes—and Why and a contributor to TIME Magazine.
One of the strange things about influenza pandemics is that they happen in slow motion, giving us time to reflect.
Looking back, it’s clear that one major challenge was (and will be) striking the elusive balance between reasonable mobilization and overreaction. We want people to wash their hands and stay home when they are sick; we don’t want people to stone buses carrying a sick passenger from another country.
How do we dial up—or down—our response to a pandemic in real time? It might help to shape public warnings and communication according to how the brain actually works. Continue reading