Evolutionary Psychology And Public Health
In my previous post, I introduced you to/reminded you of the field of Health Psychology. A body of knowledge with which every professional in the healthcare vertical should at least have a passing familiarity, and maybe even a working knowledge.
Today I would like to turn your attention to Evolutionary Psychology. Yet another body of knowledge important to working stiffs in healthcare like us. Why? Check this out. What you will see is an important post by a physician who argues that people are taking ridiculously high health risks during the pandemic because, well, “It’s all physiology people!” Translated, the blogger notes appropriately that in order to ensure survival, one of the two major forces that drive us (the other is procreation and passing on of our genes), we are wired for “fight or flight.” In a heightened state of arousal induced by a threat, we either go into battle or head for the hills. Thus, after a year during which our personal survival has been constantly threatened in a manner precluding either fight or flight, we are physically and emotionally exhausted. We’re simply not wired to put up with “hyperarousal” for this long. So, we act out. Go to bars. Party hardy. Even the wisdom of my last two posts on public health messaging may not be enough to overcome these biological urges. Now what?
Bottom Line. Dr. Alley-Hay recommends that we should show compassion to those who are exhibiting risky behavior. Yelling at them will only make matters worse. Yet another consideration that makes communicating public health messages such a challenge.
BTW, want to get a better understanding of these all-important, genetically determined forces that underly all of our behaviors? Go here.