We’ve already looked at historical precedent to predict the threat of religious fanaticism in a zombie outbreak. Now a study from York University (England) finds that sustained levels of anxiety can give rise to radical, violent religious beliefs.
Published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the evidence suggests that anxious people more fervently cling to their ideals and are more extreme in their convictions. Lead researcher Ian McGregor explains that a process known as Reactive Approach Motivation (RAM) is to blame.
“Reactive Approach Motivation is a tenacious state in which people become ‘locked and loaded’ on whatever goal or ideal they are promoting. They feel powerful, and thoughts and feelings related to other issues recede.”
McGregor adds that extreme stress in the face of danger causes many to become both paranoid and more willing to submit to the control of a charismatic external force, allowing cult leaders and doomsday profits to flourish when the dead rise.
The York study is just another indication that the human threat in a zombie outbreak will be as formidable as any zombie menace.