How people react to a close call with a tornado may surprise you. According to Jerry Suls, a University of Iowa psychologist, they become rather optimistic.
His study, which focused on tornadoes, concluded that “after people survive a brush with death, they think a tornado is not likely to hurt them in the future. In fact, they think they have a much better chance of surviving a tornado than most other people who have been through less,” according to this ABC News report.
Suls believes the optimism helps people get on with their lives and keeps them motivated. They also think they are less likely to be struck by the same disaster twice.
“There’s the old idea that lightning never strikes twice in the same place,” Suls stold ABC.
“One month after the disaster, participants were quite optimistic that they would not suffer injury in a future tornado and they remained optimistic 6 months post-tornado,” the study says.
Most participants “were more optimistic that they would avoid tornado injury in the future than the average Iowan,” according to the study. Why they thought they would do better than their peers is not quite clear, although it’s possible that just surviving one tornado breeds confidence.