... psychology professor David DeSteno ... talking to an audience of hundreds at a summit on urban resilience convened by PopTech and the Rockefeller Foundation, The City Resilient, last week. “Humans respond to disruptions in one of two ways,” he said. “We stand together, or we stand alone.” And it turns out that choosing the first strategy affords the best long term outcome, according to evolutionary and mathematical simulations, DeSteno said.
A study conducted by the Associated Press and NORC at the University of Chicago on Resilience in the Wake of Superstorm Sandy released last week and presented by its authors at the Brooklyn summit found that “individuals in slowly recovering neighborhoods are less likely to believe that, generally speaking, most people can be trusted.” Their counterparts in the faster-to-recover neighborhoods were more likely to think the storm brought out the best in people and reported lower levels of hoarding food and water, looting, stealing, and vandalism.
As DeSteno said in his talk, choosing to stand alone, choosing to hoard, price-gouge, and steal, has a long-term negative effect for the community…and the individual: “In the long-run, it’s a poor strategy. The social bonds and support of a society — your social bonds and support — fall apart,” he said.
So clearly we need to stand together, we need to create a social infrastructure that encourages people to cooperate and feel compassionate toward one another.