Bizarre 'alien simulation' study shows how COVID panic-buying was a natural response
Very Interesting|January/February 2022
New research from the University of New South Wales has demonstrated how people react differently to change

Panic-buying: it's rarely helpful, often damaging, and always divisive. But it also might be a natural human response to sudden uncertainty, rather than just being a selfish action. At least, that's what's suggested by a study comparing people's responses to rapid and gradual changes.

To examine this issue, researchers from the University of New South Wales, Australia, enlisted the help of a pair of aliens. Well, not real aliens. In a virtual simulation, 35 participants were tasked with attaining as many 'alien dollars' as possible, by selling a selection of chemicals to one of two extraterrestrials. In each 'sale round', participants had to pick two chemicals before choosing which alien to sell to. However, unknown to the humans, only one of these chemicals would determine how much the selected extraterrestrial would pay.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM VERY INTERESTINGView All

Combatting Virus Variants Before They Emerge

The technology could be used to create universal vaccines for COVID, malaria and more, its creators say

2 mins read
Very Interesting
March/April 2022

Bearing With a Sore Head

What hurts in your skull - and why

4 mins read
Very Interesting
March/April 2022

Octopuses on Parade

With three hearts, blue blood, eight bendy arms, and intelligence that outsmarts other spineless animals, there's nothing quite like an octopus. Join us on a dive into their weird world...

6 mins read
Very Interesting
March/April 2022

More Chocolate! More Tea!

Flavonoids, which are found in foods like chocolate, berries, and tea, play a key role in heart health

2 mins read
Very Interesting
March/April 2022

Palates and Perambulations

Outside of the major resorts, there are myriad activities worth investing in for a day out in Mauritius

4 mins read
Very Interesting
March/April 2022

Skull From Ancient Human Ancestor Unearthed

The 250,000-year-old remains of a Homo naledi were found in the remote depths of the Rising Star cave system in Johannesburg

2 mins read
Very Interesting
March/April 2022

Only in Your Wildest Dreams

Even today, scientists don't know why we dream. But now, psychologists have found a way to communicate with lucid dreamers - people who can take control of their dreams – in the hope that they might help us explore what goes on with our brains at night

10 mins read
Very Interesting
March/April 2022

The First Black Holes

Since just after the Big Bang, ancient black holes may have been shaping the universe as we know it. Now, scientists are tantalizingly close to glimpsing these mysterious objects for the first time

10+ mins read
Very Interesting
March/April 2022

Your Mysterious Brain

Science has mapped the surface of Mars and translated the code for life. By comparison, we know next to nothing about what's between our ears. Over the next few pages, we ask leading scientists to answer some of the most important questions about our brains...

10+ mins read
Very Interesting
March/April 2022

Beethoven's Unfinished 10th Symphony Completed by an AI

Computer scientists teamed up with historians, musicologists, and composers to teach artificial intelligence how to compose like Beethoven

5 mins read
Very Interesting
March/April 2022
RELATED STORIES

The Men Still Missing From the Workforce

After the wild ride of the past two years, employment among Americans in their prime working years, usually defined as age 25 through 54, is edging close to where it was before the pandemic.

1 min read
Bloomberg Businessweek
April 18 - 25, 2022 (Double Issue)

Chain Reactions

Throughout the pandemic, manufacturers and consumers have had to deal with longer wait times and higher prices. The new normal means everyone is learning to be more flexible

5 mins read
Newsweek Europe
February 25 - March 04, 2022

Chain Reactions

"Throughout the pandemic, manufacturers and consumers have had to deal with longer wait times and higher prices. The new normal means everyone is learning to be more flexible"

5 mins read
Newsweek
February 25 - March 04, 2022 (Double Issue)

The US-China Rift is a Health Hazard

The COVID-19 experience may have hurt the world’s ability to fight the next pandemic, largely because relations between the U.S. and China have tanked.

10+ mins read
Newsweek
February 25 - March 04, 2022 (Double Issue)

Me, You, and Intimacy Too

When was the last time you were intimate with someone, emotionally, intellectually, or physically? Psychologist Dr. Michelle Drouin says we are in an intimacy famine, and speaks to Amy Barrett about whether social media and smartphones are stripping us of one of our basic human needs

10 mins read
BBC Science Focus
February 2022

Samsung Reports Robust Profit Based on Chip Strength

Samsung Electronics Co. said Thursday its operating profit for the last quarter rose by more than 53% from the same period last year as it continued to thrive during the pandemic while relying on its dual strength in parts and finished products.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #535

AMAZON PLANS A CLOTHING STORE FOR A SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MALL

Amazon says it plans to open a clothing store in a Southern California mall later this year, a first for the online behemoth and a fresh challenge for already struggling traditional retailers.

2 mins read
Techlife News
January 22, 2022

Hole in the Net

What good is a social safety net if the people who need help the most can’t access it?

8 mins read
Newsweek Europe
January 28 - February 04, 2022

The Forever Virus

The Omicron wave could possibly mark the beginning of the end of the pandemic. What else does the virus have in store for 2022 and the years to come?

10+ mins read
Newsweek Europe
January 28 - February 04, 2022

A World of Worry

Compounding crises have made everyone anxious, but how do you know if you’ve slipped into a more serious disorder— and what do you do about it?

10 mins read
Reader's Digest UK
February 2022