Suffolk lecturer explains why people have been panic buying

Dr Shaun Hammond has explained why people panic buy Picture: ARCHANT/UNIVERSITY OF SUFFOLK

Dr Shaun Hammond has explained why people panic buy Picture: ARCHANT/UNIVERSITY OF SUFFOLK - Credit: Archant

After Suffolk experienced a frenzy of panic buying in the past week, a lecturer at the University of Suffolk has explained why people to go to such lengths.

Pictures of empty shelves have been shared across the county with hand sanitiser, pasta and even toilet roll at the top of people's panic buying shopping lists.

Dr Shaun Hammond, is a lecturer in psychology at the University of Suffolk, he has not been surprised by people's behaviour in the wake of the virus.

'People don't really know what will happen,' said Dr Hammond.

'People are fearful of self isolation.'

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Dr Hammond said that it was this fear of the unknown that was driving people to head out to the shops.

'When people are fearful they look for dramatic gestures which alleviate the fear,' said Dr Hammond.

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'The idea of washing your hands doesn't seem to be enough because we do that every day.'

Dr Hammond said that similar behaviour was seen when people panic buy petrol during fuel shortages.

'It's not uncommon,' said Dr Hammond.

'If we panic buy we feel as if we have some control.'

He said that seeing other people on TV was also a factor in people panic buying as they see what other people were doing.

'It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,' said Dr Hammond.

In the future, Dr Hammond said it could prove interesting to look back on behaviour during this outbreak and how it changes over time.

'It might be interesting long term to see how it unfolds,' said Dr Hammond.

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