The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #117973   Message #2546630
Posted By: GUEST,heric
22-Jan-09 - 09:58 PM
Thread Name: BS: Brits on Titanic die of niceness
Subject: RE: BS: Brits on Titanic die of niceness
and a quote from Savage:

David Savage, a behavioural economist at the Queensland University of Technology, studied four 20th-century maritime disasters to determine how people react in life and death situations. He concluded that, on the whole, behaviour is influenced by altruism and social norms, rather than a "survival of the fittest" mentality. However, on the Titanic he noted Americans were 8.5 per cent more likely to survive than other nationalities, while British passengers were 7 per cent less likely to survive.

"The only things I can put that down to are: there would have been very few Americans in steerage or third class; and the British tend to be very polite and queue." (The ship's first-class staterooms were closest to the lifeboat deck.)

Savage admits there is no direct evidence for his hypothesis concerning the Americans.

Mr Savage said he had no direct evidence that Americans on the Titanic were pushy or rude, "But a significantly higher number survived, and there's got to be a reason," he said.

Savage also said, and British newspapers took it up:

The captain, Edward John Smith, shouted out: "Be British, boys, be British!" as the cruise liner went down, according to witnesses.

This certainly is silly newspaper fluff, but without the harmful nastiness of the articles quoted here the other day about Hispanic Americans bringing on the subprime meltdown and world economic collapse.