The world is full of new horrors and there’s no place to hide. Who says so? Disaster psychologists,for a start. They are the people who take in the big picture of our collective reactions to human-created disaster, the ways these reactions are caused, and our coping mechanisms. And research into disaster psychology is growing fast.
Among the big issues being addressed by these researchers are understanding the terrorists’weapons, assessing the full impact of terrorism—and, crucially, working out which psychological approaches actually work. It’s a deeply controversial area.
Take the work of Dennis Embry as an example. He argues that we have overlooked the obvious: the purpose of terrorism is to create terror. This works best “if the very symbols of everyday life become conditioned fear and anxiety stimulant”. The top targets will be the most symbolic of a nation’s daily life, preferably served up for prime-time television. Crashing planes from United and American Airlines into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon from 8.46 am on met those objectives all too perfectly. After the attacks, people stopped flying. Why? Not because they had made a rational risk assessment but because the mere thought of flying made their palms sweat.
From terrorism to rail crashes, counseling and “debriefing” (盘问) are the standard response to help those caught up in disasters. But there are growing doubts about their effectiveness. What might be going wrong? Debriefing focuses on getting people to talk through the trauma (损伤)and its emotional consequences soon after the incident. Could it be that some people are better by distancing themselves from what happened, rather than retelling it?
If disaster psychologists want to find better ways to help, they’ll have to win the race between ourunderstanding of human psychology and the terrorists’.
1. Disaster psychology refers to the study of how to __________.
[A] avoid human-created disasters
[B] cope with human reactions to disasters
[C] reduce the worst natural disasters
[D] prevent growing terrorism
2. The passage tells us that disaster psychology is __________.
[A] a highly controversial area
[B] a well-established science
[C] not associated with terrorism
[D] not a part of scientific study
3. According to Dennis Embry, how do terrorists reach their goals?
[A] By overlooking the most obvious of everyday life.
[B] By setting up new symbols for a nation’s daily life.
[C] By turning symbols of everyday life into fear and anxiety stimulant.
[D] Through hijacking big planes fromthe most famous international airlines.
4. Why do people usually stop flying after terrorist attacks?
[A] Because they are terrified of flying.
[B] Because they believe in rational risk assessment.
[C] Because their palms will become too sweaty for them to fly.
[D] Because they can’t decide which airline will be the safest.
5. Counseling and debriefing may not be effective methods because __________.
[A] there is fierce controversy in this area
[B] many research have proved this
[C] some people may hide their true feelings
[D] some people may feel better to forget the disaster