• Polito: Caveman Reflex Theory


    I used to think that meteorologists were in cahoots with supermarket chains. I envisioned store managers paying off weather forecasters to make dire warnings of impending snowfall. Of course, none of this is true. Our superior weather professionals here at FOX 25 rely on computer models, atmospheric readings, and their own experience and understanding of New England's complex weather variables. Bread, milk, and egg sales are never a factor.

    That being said, there is a correlation between an approaching snowstorm and food sales. Be honest with yourself, right now you're considering a trip to the supermarket. The need to stock up is burning inside you. Why is it that we can get through a typical day without any concerns over what's in the fridge and pantry? But, mix in a snowy forecast and we turn into the food shopping equivalent of locusts. Years ago, I asked an acquaintance who's a psychologist and specializes in human behavior about this phenomenon. He calls it "Caveman Reflex Theory."

    Here's how he explained it to me. We are essentially animals and like them we are driven by instincts. We may have evolved into rational beings, but deep inside we still harbor these ancient reflexes and senses. We've lost touch with many of them and others control our behavior from a subconscious level.

    Our cave dwelling ancestors did not have the benefit of FOX 25's professional and very accurate meteorologists. However, they had senses that would warn them of an impending storm. Their hunter-gatherer instinct would kick into high gear. Then they'd get in the cave and hunker down until the storm passed. The Caveman Reflex Theory contends that hunting for the last gallon of milk and gathering all the bread is just a modern day adaptation of the ancient behavior.

    I have been unable to find any clinical research to back-up this theory, but I plan to go on a fact finding mission tonight. I'll see you at the deli counter.

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