Why Do People Ignore Severe Weather Warnings?

There has been so much crazy weather across the country that is reminded me of a video interview (Why Do Some People Ignore Severe Weather Warnings?) that I did over a year ago where I learned a little bit about the psychology behind why people respond or ignore severe weather warnings.

I think these ideas would be great to explore in characters of a natural disaster movie. What is it that makes a person stop what they are doing; round up their spouse, kids and pets; and head to the basement versus the person who continues doing what they are doing?

Psychologist Cassandra Shivers-Williams explained to me that a person’s values and expectations really have a lot to do with if they take action and if they do, what kind of action they are taking.

This could be a great way to reveal a lot about a character. Does someone hear the warning but knows that an elderly or disabled family member can’t evacuate, so they decide to stay and help take care of them?

Or

Maybe someone has seen so many of these severe weather events that they have become desensitized and they do nothing but watch the storm roll in.

Or

Why if someone is overtaken by paralyzing fear every time there is a warning? How can they overcome that?

Or

How about someone who is extremely responsive and prepared and has 6 months of food and water in their basement.

Who wants to talk more about how you can use this idea in your current or next story?

[Credit: flickr/ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers]
E-mail emilie@real2reelscience.com Hours M-F: 5-10pm EDT, EST Weekends: 12-5pm and other times by appointment.
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