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Why humans totally freak out when they get lost

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  1. skybrian
    From the article: [...]

    From the article:

    Few people manage to do what is often the most sensible thing and stay put. Most feel compelled to keep moving, and so throw themselves into the unknown in the hope that an escape route will appear. Accounts by people who have been lost show that this urge to move is extremely hard to resist, even among skilled navigators. Ralph Bagnold, a pioneer of desert exploration in North Africa during the 1930s and 1940s and founder of the British Army’s Long Range Desert Group, recalled being seized by "an extraordinarily powerful impulse" to carry on driving, in any direction, after losing his way in the Western Desert in Egypt. He considered it a kind of madness. "This psychological effect … has been the cause of nearly every desert disaster of recent years," he wrote. "If one can stay still even for half an hour and have a meal or smoke a pipe, reason returns to work out the problem of location."


    Robert Koester, a search and rescue specialist with a background in neurobiology, describes it as a "full-flown fight-or-flight catecholamine dump. It’s essentially a panic attack. If you are lost out in the woods there is a chance you will die. That’s pretty real. You feel like you’re separating from reality. You feel like you’re going crazy."

    8 votes