Are you suffering from: Jaws syndrome

When the movie Jaws came out in 1975, people stopped going into the sea, even though only 66 attacks had happened in the previous 10 years. Coined to explain financial behaviour, Jaws Syndrome can be diagnosed when you judge the probability of an event by the ease with which it comes to mind. So if a scary headline saying house prices in the south are crashing hits your desk, you call the estate agent, despite the fact that the house next door sold for above the asking price. Big, scary, downward-sloping graphs on Bloomberg are likely to make us run for cover when we should be holding steady. The answer is to use your head. The likelihood of being eaten by a shark is far less than that of being run over by a bus on a pedestrian crossing - which, for some reason, no-one worries about. Politicians thrive on Jaws Syndrome to frighten people into voting, but, as in the case of 9/11, tragic monumental repeat occurrences are rare. Much more worrying than sharks are our unfilled tax returns.

by Helen Kirwan-Taylor -
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

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