Prevention is hard for us to do, and even harder to appreciate. This is because it requires long-term thinking, which is not our species’ specialty. It is also because paradoxically, successful prevention efforts tend to look like overreactions.

Prevention isn’t exciting, and doesn’t produce easy heroes. When something is broken, the problem is self evident, and the person who fixes it is the clear hero. When a problem is prevented, nothing bad happens, and we often can’t know for certain whether it would have happened had we not intervened. Perhaps the calamity we claim to have averted would not have materialized in the first place. That’s why all the TV shows are about detectives and lawyers and surgeons—the people who solve murders, try criminals, and save the sick, not the people who prevent criminality and sickness from happening in the first place.



[ Noam Shpancer Ph.D.:"True False Believers: The Psychology Of Conspiracy Theories" (2020/04/21) on PsychologyToday ]
The current coronavirus response constitutes a public, large-scale, and acute attempt at prevention. Our preventative measures, in addition to the technical, economic, and political problems they pose, are also bound to be psychologically trying. We can therefore anticipate a backlash. Such a backlash will take various forms, but without a doubt, it will involve the flowering of a thousand conspiracy theories.


[ Noam Shpancer Ph.D.:"True False Believers: The Psychology Of Conspiracy Theories" (2020/04/21) on PsychologyToday ]


Our future selves are strangers to us.

This isn’t some poetic metaphor; it’s a neurological fact. FMRI studies suggest that when you imagine your future self, your brain does something weird: It stops acting as if you’re thinking about yourself. Instead, it starts acting as if you’re thinking about a completely different person.

Here’s how it works: Typically, when you think about yourself, a region of the brain known as the medial prefrontal cortex, or MPFC, powers up. When you think about other people, it powers down. And if you feel like you don’t have anything in common with the people you’re thinking about? The MPFC activates even less.

More than 100 brain-imaging studies have reported this effect. (Here’s a helpful meta-analysis—while some fMRI studies have been called into question recently for statistical errors and false positives, this particular finding is robust.) But there’s one major exception to this rule: The further out in time you try to imagine your own life, the less activation you show in the MPFC. In other words, your brain acts as if your future self is someone you don’t know very well and, frankly, someone you don’t care about.





[ JANE MCGONIGAL: "Our Puny Human Brains Are Terrible at Thinking About the Future And that has consequences" (2017/04/13) on SLATE ]

Hane McGonigalは、カリフォルニア州Palo Altoの非営利法人Institute for the Futureの研究部長であり、米国における将来思考について調査を完了した。それによれば:

However, a brush with mortality—such as a potentially terminal medical diagnosis, a near-death experience, or other traumatic event—does cause people to think more about the future. Among people who reported a brush with mortality, there was a 21% increase in thinking about the 30-year future often, a 25% increase in thinking about the 10-year future often, and a 31% increase in thinking about the 5-year future often.

30年後の未来を考える: 21%増加
10年後の未来を考える: 25%増加
5年後の未来を考える: 31%増加

[ The American Fugure Gap by Institute for the Future ]


The paradox of preparation refers to how preventative measures can intuitively seem like a waste of time both before and after the fact. ...


From Chris Hayes:
A doctor I spoke to today called this the “paradox of preparation” and it’s the key dynamic in all this. The only way to get ahead of the curve is to take actions that *at the time* seem like overreactions, eg: Japan closing all schools for a month with very few confirmed cases.


Chris Hayes@chrislhayes Mar 15

That was in response to Dr. James Hamblin:(これはレスポンスで)
The thing is if shutdowns and social distancing work perfectly and are extremely effective it will seem in retrospect like they were totally unnecessary overreactions.


James Hamblin@jameshamblin Mar 13

Epidemiologist Mari Armstrong-Hough made a similar point earlier on Twitter:(感染症学者Mari Armstrong-Houghも同様のことを指摘している)
You won’t ever know if what you did personally helped. That’s the nature of public health. When the best way to save lives is to prevent a disease rather than treat it, success often looks like an overreaction.


Mari Armstrong-Hough@MariInTokyo Mar 12

Preparation, prevention, regulations, and safeguards prevent catastrophes all the time, but we seldom think or hear about it because “world continues to function” is not interesting news.


Jason Kottke: "The Paradox of Preparation" (2020\03/16)