:"For psychological condition, see Panic attack", who was said to have the ability to cause extreme, irrational fear, especially in lonely or open places. "Panic" is also known as "Anxiety".

Prehistoric men used mass panic as a technique when hunting animals, especially ruminants. Herds reacting to unusually strong sounds or unfamiliar visual effects were directed towards cliffs, where they eventually jumped to their deaths when cornered.Fact|date=February 2007

Humans are also vulnerable to panic and it is often considered infectious, in the sense one person's panic may easily spread to other people nearby and soon the entire group acts irrationally, but people also have the ability to prevent and/or control their own and other's panic by disciplined thinking or training (such as disaster drills). Architects and city planners try to accommodate the symptoms of panic, such as herd behavior, during design and planning, often using simulations to determine the best way to lead people to a safe exit and prevent congestion (stampedes). The most effective methods are often nonintuitive. A tall column, approximately 1 ft (300 mm) in diameter, placed in front of the door exit at a precisely calculated distance, may speed up the evacuation of a large room by up to 30%, as the obstacle divides the congestion well ahead of the choke point.Fact|date=February 2007

In sociology, precipitate and irrational actions of a group are often referred to as panics, as for example "sex panic", "stock market panic". (See hysteria.) Panic is usually understood to mean active, but senseless behavior (e.g. trying to flee in a random direction or suddenly attacking others without consideration), while hysteria often carries a more passive notion (as in crying uncontrollably). An influential theoretical treatment of panic by a sociologist is found in Neil J. Smelser's, "Theory of Collective Behavior".

The science of panic management has found important practical applications in the armed forces and emergency services of the world.

Many highly publicized cases of deadly panic occurred during massive public events.

The layout of Mecca was extensively redesigned by Saudi authorities in an attempt to eliminate frequent stampedes, which kill an average of 250 pilgrims every year. [Citation
last = Castelvecchi
first = Davide
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Formula for Panic: Crowd-motion findings may prevent stampedes
newspaper = Science News Online
pages =
year =
date = 2007-04-07
url =

Football stadiums have seen deadly crowd rushes and stampedes, such as at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield, England, in 1989. This led to controlled entry gates and stricter rules by the end of the 1980s to regulate seating arrangements.


"Panic" comes from Greek "panikon", "pertaining to Pan." Pan is the god of woods and fields who was the source of mysterious sounds that caused contagious, groundless fear in herds and crowds, or in people in lonely spots

Panic and the law

Most jurisdictions limit the freedom of speech in order to deter people from creating potentially dangerous panic situations, especially a false alarm (the classic example is shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre when in fact nothing is burning).

Some criminal defendants attempt to evade or reduce the severity of their conviction by claiming their violence was induced by a sense of panic. Certain jurisdiction may limit punishment in case one's actions for self-defense were excessively powerful because of panic reaction.

Panic experienced by air travellers during the last minutes of their lives aboard crashing commercial flights has been the basis of several multi-million dollar lawsuits brought against airlines, based on the legal concept of emotional sufferingFact|date=February 2007.

See also

* Anxiety
* Fight-or-flight response
* Angst
* Collective behavior
* Emotion
* Fear
* Hysteria
* Kernel panic
* List of recessions
* Panic attack
* Panic disorder
* Penis panic


External links

* [!.html Panic! How it works and What To Do About It] — by Bruce Tognazzini.
* [ Panic Sufferer Support Group]
* [ Panic: Myth or Reality?] — Professor Lee Clarke, Contexts Magazine.
* [ Bruce Schneier on the Myth of Panic]
* [ Human Thinking in terms of processing layers] — by Roger Bourke White Jr..

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • panic — panic …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • panic — panic1 [pan′ik] n. [ME panyk < L panicum, kind of millet < panus, ear of millet, a swelling < IE base * pank , to swell > Pol pąk, a bud] any of several grasses (genus Panicum), as millet, used as fodder: also panic grass panic2… …   English World dictionary

  • Panic — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda «Panic» Sencillo de The Smiths Lado B « Vicar in a Tutu The Draize Train » Publicación 21 de julio de 1986 …   Wikipedia Español

  • panic — [ panik ] n. m. • 1403; penis 1282; lat. panicum, de panus « fil de tisserand » ♦ Plante herbacée (graminées), annuelle ou vivace, cultivée comme céréale ou plante fourragère. ⇒ millet. ⊗ HOM. Panique. ● panic ou panisse nom masculin Nom de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Panić — (Serbian Cyrillic: Панић) is an ethnic Serbian Orthodox surname and may refer to:*Milan Panić American and Serbian multimillionaire, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1992 1993 *Života Panić Colonel General of Yugoslav… …   Wikipedia

  • Panic! — (jeu vidéo) Panic! Éditeur Sega (JP) Data East (US) Date de sortie 1993 Genre Réflexion Mode de jeu Un joueur Plate forme Mega CD …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Panic — Pan ic, n. [Gr. to paniko n (with or without dei^ma fear): cf. F. panique. See {Panic}, a.] 1. A sudden, overpowering fright; esp., a sudden and groundless fright; terror inspired by a trifling cause or a misapprehension of danger; as, the troops …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Panic — Pan ic, n. [L. panicum.] (Bot.) A plant of the genus {Panicum}; panic grass; also, the edible grain of some species of panic grass. [1913 Webster] {Panic grass} (Bot.), any grass of the genus {Panicum}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Panić — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Božidar Panić (* 1927), jugoslawischer Ernährungswissenschaftler Milan Panić (* 1929), serbischer Politiker und US amerikanischer Unternehmer Života Panić (1933–2003), serbischer General und Politiker… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Panic — Panic  первая музыкальная группа Дэйва Мастейна, которая за свое короткое время существования не добилась каких либо заметных успехов в музыке. Тем не менее, Panic, а точнее говоря сам Мастейн, написали три песни, которые впоследствии, с… …   Википедия

  • panic — [n1] extreme fright agitation, alarm, cold feet*, confusion, consternation, crush, dismay, dread, fear, frenzy, horror, hysteria, jam, rush, scare, stampede, terror, trepidation; concepts 27,410,690 Ant. calm, collectedness, confidence,… …   New thesaurus

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.