A Scientific American traz um artigo muito interessante sobre esta problemática. Está escrito em inglês, aqui.
“Psychology Reveals the Comforts of the Apocalypse (…)
(…) deep down for various reasons, there’s something appealing—at least to some of us—about the end of the world.
Enjoy the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. (…)
(…) Over evolutionary history, organisms with a better-safe-than-sorry approach survive. This mechanism has had consequences for both the body and brain, where the fast-acting amygdala can activate a fearful stress response before “higher” cortical areas have a chance to assess the situation and respond more rationally. (…)
(…) Individuals with a history of traumatic experiences, for example, may be fatalistic. For these people, finding a group of like-minded fatalists is reassuring. There may also be comfort in being able to attribute doom to some larger cosmic order—such as an ancient Mayan prophecy. This kind of mythology removes any sense of individual responsibility. (…)
(…) This also means people can focus on preparing. Doomsday preppers who assemble their bunker and canned food, Lissek believes, are engaged in goal-oriented behaviors, which are a proven therapy in times of trouble. (…)
The Power of Knowledge (…)
Beyond the universal aspects of fear and our survival response to it, certain personality traits may make individuals more susceptible to believing it’s the end of the world. Social psychologist Karen Douglas at the University of Kent studies conspiracy theorists and suspects that her study subjects, in some cases, share attributes with those who believe in an impending apocalypse. She points out that, although these are essentially two different phenomena, certain apocalyptic beliefs are also at the heart of conspiracy theories—for example, the belief that government agencies know about an impending disaster and are intentionally hiding this fact to prevent panic.
“One trait I see linking the two is the feeling of powerlessness, often connected to a mistrust in authority,” Douglas says. Among conspiracy theorists, these convictions of mistrust and impotence make their conspiracies more precious—and real. “People feel like they have knowledge that others do not.”
(…) “I talk to kids in my practice and they see it as a good thing. They say, ‘life would be so simple—I’d shoot some zombies and wouldn’t have to go to school,’” Schlozman says. In both literature and in speaking with patients, Schlozman has noticed that people frequently romanticize the end times. They imagine surviving, thriving and going back to nature. (…)
(…) In today’s complicated world with terrorism, war, fiscal cliffs and climate change, people are primed for panic. (…)
“All of this uncertainty and all of this fear comes together and people think maybe life would be better” after a disaster, Schlozman says. Of course, in truth, most of their post-apocalyptic dreams are just fantasies that ignore the real hardships of pioneer life and crumbling infrastructure. He points out that, if anything, tales of apocalypse, particularly involving zombies, should ideally teach us something about the world we should avoid—and how to make necessary changes now.”
Basicamente, pessoas com experiências traumáticas ou mais propensas ao medo, tendem a ser fatalistas. Nesse caso, procuram pessoas que lhes digam aquilo que elas querem ouvir – que o mundo vai acabar.
O conforto também vem da responsabilidade não ser deles – culpam profecias Maias e outras. Assim, este tipo de psicologia retira qualquer responsabilidade individual neles próprios para mudarem para melhor o mundo.