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...We have lived among and survived snakes, spiders and other species that could have led to our extinction. That’s probably why our brain has developed parts like the amygdala, which acts as an alarm system, generating fast emotions like fear when we notice anything that’s out of place or scary. The amygdala that induces the fear reflex has helped our ancestors survive and it continues to remain a vital tool in today’s daily life. When we see a face that’s scared, we take cues and act instantly; or, if we smell smoke, the amygdala floods the body with fear signals even before we are consciously aware of being afraid. However, today, life has been changed dramatically due to money and technology. A potential economic threat makes us panic. When our investments take a sudden drop, we react and sell our investments; making ourselves poorer, not richer. But we feel more comfortable to invest when markets are rising. ...Live Mint on Dec. 6, 2017, 4:53 p.m.
...Despite measures being taken by the government on improving roads, there has been a continuous increase in road crash deaths since 2007, with a brief annual reduction in 2012. Between 2010 and 2015, incidence of road accidental deaths increased by an annual average rate of 1.2%. There were over 500,000 road accidents in 2015, up from 489,000 in 2014. More than 500,000 people were injured in road accidents in 2015, up from 493,000 in 2014. A total of 146,000 people died in road accidents in 2015, up from 139,000 in 2014. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, out of 146,000 deaths, only 0.8% of the cases were due to lack of road infrastructure. Road safety is not just about creating infrastructure. It is about designing behavioural solutions that take human biases and irrational behaviour into consideration. When the roads are smooth, wide and empty, drivers are likely to speed. If the car being driven is big and tough, the driver feels much safer compared to driving say, a small hatchback. That makes drivers over-compensate and take undue risks. ...Live Mint on March 20, 2017, 11:50 p.m.
...It assumes that people are aware of the law, realize it applies to them, that people weigh the costs of breaking the law with the risk of being caught, overcome the temptations of the moment, in favour of willpower and self-discipline, and comply. However, in spite of alcohol being prohibited in Gujarat, Nagaland, and Bihar, it is still readily available in these states, and has helped create a network of bootleggers, liquor mafia, spurious liquor, and a complicit police. There are fines for not adhering to traffic laws like honking unnecessarily or not stopping the car before a zebra crossing, but they are far from being effective in getting people to take the desired action. There is a fine for littering, but our roads are strewn with litter. Even when retailers charge for plastic bags, its consumption continues to grow. ...Live Mint on Dec. 21, 2016, 4:58 a.m.
...The narrator on the video was Amitabh Bachchan, who said that the goddess of wealth lives only where there’s cleanliness.It ended with a plea by Bachchan and Ranaut to keep the country clean by not littering.Though the government didn’t issue this particular video, it has issued other, similar ad campaigns in public interest that promote the use of a public toilet instead of open defecation.It is largely believed that ad campaigns change public behaviour by creating a change in people’s mindsets, which in turn leads people to take the desired action.But changing behaviour is not so easy.There are too many assumptions for this model of awareness leading to action.The first assumption is that people can recall the message all the time.The second assumption is that the message is successful in motivating people to such an extent that it prompts them to act. ...Live Mint on Sept. 29, 2016, 11:08 p.m.