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What Would You Do If … Dilemmas In A Zombie Apocalypse: No. 23 – The Who Goes First Dilemma

9 Aug

There’s three of you trapped eleven floors up in a skyscraper. You know your best chance of survival is to get out as quickly as possible, but there’s also zombies everywhere – including in the building itself. However, before you can leave the room you’ve been holed up in for the last few hours, you get into an argument as what order you should move down the narrow corridors and which position (going first, last or in the middle) is safest and which is most dangerous. You decide the only thing to do to solve the argument is to draw lots to choose who goes where. You get lucky and get first choice. What do you do?


As always, this dilemma is just here to make you think, so there’s no right or wrong answer. Vote in the poll to let others know what you do if you were in this situation, and if you want to give a more detailed answer, leave a comment on this posting.

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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

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What Would You Do If … Dilemmas In A Zombie Apocalypse: No. 22 – The Dog Owner’s Dilemma

2 Aug

It’s been a long, hard winter. You are holed up in a safe house, but you ran out of food the week before and you are close to starvation. A fierce blizzard has been raging outside for the last seven days and it looks like it will continue for at least another week. You could go outside to look for food, but you’d risk freezing to death in the storm; because of the white-out conditions, you’d also have absolutely no chance of seeing or hearing any zombies before it’s too late. Yet, the zombies seem unaffected by the storm, or the freezing temperatures, and you’re pretty sure that, despite the conditions, they’d have no trouble finding you. Your dog is curled up beside you, helping to keep you warm. He’s been with you since before the zombies came and he has saved your life on many occasions, his superior sense of smell giving advanced warning of approaching zombies. As you stroke him, you can feel that he’s skinny but he still has some meat on his bones. You know people in other cultures eat dogs, and that he would provide enough nourishment to last you until the storm is over and it’s safe to go out and forage again, but he the only companion you have left. What do you do?


As always, this dilemma is just here to make you think, so there’s no right or wrong answer. Vote in the poll to let others know what you do if you were in this situation, and if you want to give a more detailed answer, leave a comment on this posting.

If you wish to read a further discussion on how useful dogs might be in a zombie apocalypse, you can find one here.



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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

What Would You Do If … Dilemmas In A Zombie Apocalypse: No. 21 – The Altruist’s Dilemma

26 Jul

The five of you have been working your way through the maze of corridors for the last four hours, killing zombies whenever you ran into them. Ahead you finally see the exit and you breathe a sigh of relief because you’re running low on bullets and once you’re outside you can get into you vehicle and drive back to your safe house. You knew almost from the moment you stepped inside the abandoned stadium looking for supplies that it was a bad idea, but it has taken you this long just to get back out safely again. Suddenly three undead shamble round the corner, blocking your path to the exit. You raise your run and fire; the first goes down, but then the gun just clicks: you’re out of ammo and you’ve got no other weapons to hand. You curse your mis-fortune and try desperately to work out what to do next. Then a thought occurs to you: if you attack the zombies bare-handed, it will give the others enough time to escape. Of course, you’ll also die a horrible death as the zombies feast on your still-living flesh. What do you do?


As always, this dilemma is just here to make you think, so there’s no right or wrong answer. Vote in the poll to let others know what you do if you were in this situation, and if you want to give a more detailed answer, leave a comment on this posting.



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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

How Will People Respond In A Zombie Apocalypse?

20 Jul

For the last 20 weeks, I’ve been posting a series of dilemmas which people might be faced with in a zombie apocalypse. The idea of these was mostly to have a bit of fun and get people thinking about some ethical dilemmas they might face if a zombie apocalypse were ever to happen. However, there was also another side to this. This was to examine how people thought they’d act under difficult circumstances. With this in mind, I specifically provided answers which would help identify whether people would act altruistically or selfishly. I also inserted a few answers here and there which the wording was specifically geared towards those with psychopathic tendencies just to see how often they would be selected.

With a total of 396 responses across the 20 dilemmas, I now have enough to do some analysis and see what they tell us about how people think they’d act in a zombie apocalypse. I divided up the answers into four categories: altruistic ones (where people would put themselves at risk to save others), neutral ones (where the answer had no impact on the survival, or not, of others), selfish ones (where people would put others at risk to save themselves) and psychopathic ones (where people would take actions which would potentially result in the deaths of others even though there was little cost to themselves).

How people responded to dilemmas in a zombie apocalypse

How people responded to dilemmas in a zombie apocalypse

The first result, which is heart-warming, is that people chose responses which were altruistic significantly (p<0.001) more often than might be expected by chance alone. They also responded significantly less selfish (p=0.04) or psychopathically (p=0.04) than expected by chance. Neutral answers were selected no differently than might be expected by chance alone So, it seems people are basically nice, and will do things to help others, even when the zombies are beating at the door.

Yet, if you dig a little deeper, there’s some more interesting results in there. People responded most selfishly when the dilemma specifically involved their own survival, even at the cost of others. This is perhaps unsurprising. People also responded most altruistically when the dilemmas involved the survival or not of a child or children. Interestingly, it didn’t matter whether the kids were related to the person or not (which is not what I’d have expected).

So far, so good, but then we get to something a little worrying. When I looked at which dilemmas resulted in the highest proportion of psychopathic answers, I found out that they involved either a close relative, a partner or an underling the person had power over, and in these cases over 40% of the people chose what might be considered the psychopathic response.

Now none of this us real science, and it’s all a bit of fun, but I think it tells us four things about humanity (or at least the portion of it that spend time wondering about what they would do during a zombie apocalypse!):

1. Most people are willing to respond altruistically if given the opportunity, even in a zombie apocalypse.

2. People are particularly willing to be altruistically towards children, even unrelated ones.

3. People are most selfish when if comes to making decisions about themselves rather than about others.

4. There’s quite a large portion of people out there who responded in such a way as to suggest they tend to act with psychopathic tendencies. Of course, these might just be one-off answers, in which case there’s little to worry about. If, however, there are people out there who consistently select these answers, it’s all a bit more worrying; but maybe not unexpected. After all, it’s been estimated that 1% of the population are psychopaths. In a zombie apocalypse, these are the people you’d want to avoid at all costs, because they’re the ones who won’t think twice about taking actions which may result in your death – or worse …


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

What Would You Do If … Dilemmas In A Zombie Apocalypse: No. 20 – The Lone Survivor’s Dilemma

19 Jul

You are rummaging through an abandoned house looking for any canned food which those who’ve come before might have overlooked. Suddenly there’s a noise outside the room you’re in. You run into the dark corridor where you see a shadow shambling towards you – or is it two? You’ve only got one bullet left so you don’t want to waste when you can just run away. With the way to the front door blocked, you run to what you figure must be the back door and dive through. Unfortunately, rather than finding yourself outside, you find yourself in a small cupboard. Before you can go back into the corridor, you hear hammering on the door. You assess the situation: you’re trapped with no way out unless you go back into the corridor, you’ve got a gun, but it only has one bullet in it and you’re really not sure if there’s one zombie on the other side of the door or two. If there’s one zombie, you’ll be able to shoot it and escape, but if there’s two the second one will get you after you’ve used your last bullet to kill the first. The chances of you being rescued is pretty much zero as you haven’t seen another living human in weeks, and the longer you wait the greater the chance of more zombies turning up. What do you do?


As always, this dilemma is just here to make you think, so there’s no right or wrong answer. Vote in the poll to let others know what you do if you were in this situation, and if you want to give a more detailed answer, leave a comment on this posting.

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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

What Would You Do If … Dilemmas In A Zombie Apocalypse: No. 19 – The Doctor’s Dilemma

5 Jul

You are a doctor in a remote field hospital tending refugees who have fled from the advancing zombie swarms sweeping across the country. Ever since you arrived, you’ve been working in a children’s ward and in your care are twenty patients ranging in age from a few years old to ones who are almost teenagers. Some are so ill they cannot get out of bed, while others are up and about most of the time. After yet another long day, you are ready to head to your tent in the camp, but no one comes to relief you. You try calling the headquarters but, yet again, the phones are down. Going outside, you see that the refugee camp is in turmoil, with everyone scrambling to leave as soon as possible. You flag down a man in an old army truck and ask him what’s going on. He tells you there are rumours of a zombie horde sweeping up the valley towards the camp, and that everyone who can get out is leaving as soon as possible just in case. Then he asks if you want to come with him. You think about this for a moment, if there really are zombies coming and you go with him, it will be your best chance of surviving, but you will be abandoning any children you leave behind to a certain death. If you stay, while you might survive a zombie attack on the camp, it would be very unlikely. On the other hand, though it prove to be just a rumour, as has been the case before. If this is the case, neither you nor the children are in danger if you stay, yet if you leave, any of them that remain in the hospital will die because you’re not there to look after them. What do you do?


As always, this dilemma is just here to make you think, so there’s no right or wrong answer. Vote in the poll to let others know what you do if you were in this situation, and if you want to give a more detailed answer, leave a comment on this posting.

*****************************************************************************
From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

What Would You Do If … Dilemmas In A Zombie Apocalypse: No. 18 – The Passenger Next To You Dilemma

28 Jun

You’re on a plane. It was the last flight out so you had no choice but to take it. If you hadn’t the zombies would have over-run the airport before you could get away. The man in the set next to you has a bandage round his hand and is sweating heavily. You look out the window, you’re now high above the sea and it will be another five hours before the plane can land in the safe zone. You look back at the man, he seems to be lapsing in and out of consciousness. He could just be ill but you have a horrible suspicion he’s infected the with the virus that turns people into zombies. If he is, he’ll turn into a before you’re back on the ground and there will be no getting away from him in the close confines of the cabin. What do you do?


As always, this dilemma is just here to make you think, so there’s no right or wrong answer. Vote in the poll to let others know what you do if you were in this situation, and if you want to give a more detailed answer, leave a comment on this posting.

*****************************************************************************
From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.