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The article seems to have received a malicious edit on 2023-08-02. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:08, 5 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment[edit]

This article was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment, between 5 April 2021 and 11 June 2021. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): CM.PSY479. Peer reviewers: Mercadora.

Above undated message substituted from assignment by PrimeBOT (talk) 06:05, 17 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Disambiguation requested[edit]

I suggest that a disambiguation page be added to distinguish psychological panic from financial panics. See List of Recessions for the financial panic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:37, 28 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]

I agree on this. Maybe, this article should be moved to Mass_Panic and Panic should disambiguate Panic_(Psychology), Mass_Panic, etc.

--HubertKluepfel (talk) 14:37, 21 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]

The biggest problem with this page is that fear is used to define panic. However, these are two different emotions with two different functions. Suggest the entire page be changed to the following using copy and paste:

Bank run on the Seamen's Savings' Bank during the Panic of 1857.

Panic is a physical emotion that causes certain animals (including humans) to stop moving, thereby preventing identification during a possible attack. The lack of movement causes smaller species to appear to be deceased (and thus have less nutritious value) to larger, predatory species. Panic may occur singularly in individuals or manifest in groups (closely related to herd behavior), such as sudden movement cessation among groups of grazing animals when rustling occurs in nearby overgrown areas of vegetation (signaling possible attacks by predatory species).

The word panic derives from the Greek πανικός, "pertaining to shepherd god Pan", who felt schadenfreude when causing herds of fainting goats to feel panic and stop moving. The ancient Greeks credited the battle of Marathon's victory to Pan, using his name for the emotion displayed by enemy soldiers (though the emotion was fear, which causes animals to run).

Prehistoric men used panic as a hunting technique when pursuing other animals, especially ruminants. Herds reacted to unusually strong sounds or unfamiliar visual effects. The mere observation of panic in one animal can cause another animal (including humans) to feel panic. This observational effect promotes survival among species because observable or audible clues about threats are not always available to all members of a group. Architects and city planners try to accommodate emotions that routinely follow panic, such as fear (which causes animals to run), during design and planning, often using simulations to determine the best way to lead humans to safe exits and prevent congestion (stampedes). An effective example is a tall column, approximately 1 ft (300 mm) in diameter, placed in front of the door exit at a precisely calculated distance, which can speed up the evacuation of a large room by up to 30%, as the obstacle divides the congestion well ahead of the choke point.

Although panic is a normal emotion, some view it as a medical condition that requires medical treatment. One example of a treatment of panic is found in Neil J. Smelser's, Theory of Collective Behavior. The pseudoscience of panic management is practiced by medical providers and military strategists.

Many highly publicized cases of death following fear that followed panic have occurred during massive gatherings of humans. The layout of Mecca was extensively redesigned by religion performers to prevent stampedes, which kill an average of 250 humans every year.[1] Football stadiums have seen deadly crowd rushes and stampedes, such as at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield, England, in 1989 when 96 people were killed in a deadly crush.


  1. ^ Castelvecchi, Davide (2007-04-07), "Formula for Panic: Crowd-motion findings may prevent stampedes" ([dead link]Scholar search), Science News Online {{citation}}: External link in |format= (help)

See also[edit]


External links[edit]



Added the etymology of the word. --Eniac turing 13:21, 18 November 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Corrected the etymology from panikon to panikos Darwin Naz (talk) 01:39, 11 January 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Some citations required[edit]

Some of the claims were a bit too specific and questionable that it's safe to cite these. The first is how prehistoric man would scare the animals to where they would jump off the cliffs and the other being how the columns are a factor for evacuations. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by BirdKr (talkcontribs) 01:36, 28 December 2006 (UTC).[reply]


Panic Myth[edit]

I have placed a disputed tag on the article.

Most researchers of human behaviour (e.g. in crowds and fire) would dispute that panic is a useful construct to discuss human behaviour. Some of the most distinguished researchers in the field have looked into the question and have concluded that panic is seldom seen, especially in the context of human behaviour in disasters, fire, etc. This includes the official investigation into the WTC bombings and Sept 11. For references see Don't Panic by Chertkoff and Kushigian. Quarantelli's articles on Panic, especially in Sociology and Social Research in 1957, and his article with Dynes in 1972 in Psychology Today. For more recent discussion see Proulx in Fire Protection Engineering #16 (2002).

This is directly opposite to what is being stated here on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is doing no-one a favour by reinforcing this myth. Look for articles by fire and emergency researchers, not articles by people in other fields who may simply be reinforcing a popular stereotype. The media uses inflammatory language, and the movies like drama, but the reality does not seem to be like this. -- cmhTC 18:18, 1 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Here is a link to Proulx's article (see p23-25) -- cmhTC 18:21, 1 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]

The dispute raised by the previous comment is strongly supported by the references. "Panic" or "Mass panic" is not considered a helpful notion in the context of mass behavior, crowd dynamics (including crowd management and crowd control), or evacuation (and its analysis, simulation, improvement). --HubertKluepfel (talk) 14:40, 21 December 2007 (UTC) What part if any do human ,animal hormones play in panic?NONDEPLUME (talk) 17:14, 28 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Im not sure what you mean. Panic is most definetly a real state of mind. Its even linked to a bunch of other problems.. I have a mitral valve prolapse. Its really common for sufferers of this condition to suffer panic attacks, not directly related to their heart problem.
Its like an internal firestorm: It generates its own wind and thus increases based only upon inner actions of an otherwise stable system. See I have this panic disorder; its silly but its all randomy, because I imagine (for no reason whatsoever) that my heart will stop randomly. Or has already done so (clearly not the case.) And this definetly initiates hours of freakout, confusion and Absolute Terror. I cant think of any way to describe what feels like a sure, rapidly approaching and random death. And right now? Im rational, i know its based on nothing. This will not matter, sooner or later, as once again I will panic.
Rational thoughts are great, but when panic hits, you're caught under the wave. Best to hold your breath and wait..but thats the trouble with panic, isnt it? You don't think clearly, and logical narrative collapses, replaced by the overwhelming motive force of fear and protectiveness. I even have them when I dont know I am -- like when they had to anesthetize me. All three times I wokeup half way home, crying. I know i screamed at people and freaked out but i sure didnt realise it. Chardansearavitriol (talk) 03:58, 14 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]
An example is, I apprently wrote that. Cant remember doing so, and is a bit more standoffish than i usually go for. Im betting i was really out of it at the time. Also I cant recall my password at the moment. Lame panic is lame :( (talk) 11:49, 4 June 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Faugh! This is precisely why disambiguation is required here. We have one guy claiming that his own experience of a specific psychological state can be and should be generalized to claim that "panic" is real in every bizarre way that anyone else wants to conceive of it (e.g. fleeing from Godzilla, the supposed War of the Worlds hysteria, the injuries that had occurred during events with huge crowds, etc.) Let me say again, this article STINKS in its current form! It make claims far in excess of anything justifiable by collective sources. I'm an urban planner, and panic is not the province of urban planner training. I'm also a sociologist, and the myth of panic is dissected well in a standard textbook on collective behavior. People being injured because of stoned crowd movements at a rock concert, or because they stumbled on stairs during a fire evacuation, does not count as evidence of any of the sort of irrationality ascribed to "panic" as a supposedly collective phenomenon, rather than simply a personal emotional reaction exhibited by a minority of individuals. This article as it currently stands should be retitled "The Stereotype of Panic," or "Panic as Described in Legend." Heck, this magazine article does a far better job than this Wikipedia entry:

For a starting academic source, check out David L. Miller's "Introduction to Collective Behavior and Collective Action," now in a 3rd edition (2013), and let's restore the skeptical sections to this article, and flag the entire thing as disputed.  :-( (talk) 15:11, 13 November 2017 (UTC)[reply]

An argument on behalf of an individual's emotional sensation (e.g. a psychological state of anxiety or individual anxiety disorder) does not address the lack of support for the idea of "panic" as useful in explaining the collective behavior of crowds, etc. Please refer to "Introduction to Collective Behavior and Collective Action" 2nd ed by David L. Miller, Waveland Press Inc. for extensive discussion (and critiques of Smelser's previous work). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:30, 2 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]

The anecdotal report of an "internal firestorm" of anxiety repeats the basic semantic error of conflating individual panic disorder with a supposed group behavior ("mass panic.") The scientific consensus, as described in Lee Clarke's article cited, is that people in groups rarely exhibit the sort of asocial or antisocial behavior suggested by the term "mass panic." The circumstances required to cause such behavior are well understood: 1) Direct perception of a dire and dread threat; 2) Perceived competition for limited opportunities to escape; and, 3) Inadequate social cohesion within the group to counteract the force of 1) and 2). When the social fabric rips and people start competing as "every man for himself," then you have a group panic. But that very rarely happens. In most emergent situations people are rational, orderly and cooperative.

Note also that the archetypical example of alleged mass panic, the Orson Welles "War of the Worlds" broadcast in 1938, has been found in sober retrospect to have been almost entirely a concoction by an embattled newspaper industry of the time in unintentional concert with triumphal self-congratulation by the radio broadcasting industry. [1]Art (talk) 19:40, 28 May 2016 (UTC)[reply]

I have to agree vehemently that this entire article needs to be flagged as disputed, with the section described here in talk restored to the article. Frankly, THIS ARTICLE STINKS and is not in any way encyclopedic. (talk) 15:02, 13 November 2017 (UTC)[reply]

This article is about the classic book that Cleckley wrote and what he put in it[edit]

His book is a classic and influenced the field. But that doesn't mean that everyone agrees with him now. The current diagnosis for a psychopath is Antisocial personality disorder and the diagnostic criteria have changed since then. So it's not surprising that a book first published in 1941 doesn't agree in every way with psychiatric thinking today. What's in McCleckley's book is what's in it. He's dead and can't change it. Star767 02:01, 8 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Did you accidentally add this comment to the wrong talk page? It doesn't make sense to me. For an article of psychopathy or sociopathy it would make more sense. Looie496 (talk) 02:11, 8 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]


I have added some info and sources. I would like to note that panic is a behavior and, therefore, there is a psychological aspect to it. I have read some here talking about disputes and myths. Instead of disputing this article, I hope editors can just add information and continue to improve this page so that problems can be addressed. I also welcome modifications to the changes I have made if you have more authoritative sources. Thanks. Darwin Naz (talk) 01:46, 11 January 2019 (UTC)[reply]