Better a man or a bear? A dilemma that causes debate


Institutional Communication Service

14 May 2024

A question posed by a guy addressed to several young women. And a video that went viral on TikTok. "Would you rather be stuck alone in a forest with a man or a bear?". According to the debate, the preference of those who responded was clear, and clearly in favour of the animal. Interviewed by Corriere del Ticino, Rosalba Morese, researcher and lecturer in psychology and social neuroscience at USI, analysed the outcome of the question in depth. Delving into its implications, as well as its roots.

"At the basis of this dilemma, it is possible to identify a very important concept: that of fear, which we experience when we find ourselves in situations of threat and danger," said Morese in the pages of CdT. A fear that, however, precisely because it is of a different nature, has tipped the balance towards the bear in the debate. Not least because - as some young women stated - in such a scenario, in their opinion the animal would be less unpredictable. "The problem is not only who, between man and bear, could attack us," Morese pointed out. "The human mind projects the possible consequences when faced with the two different situations, not only in the short term, but also in the medium and long term. First, we might react with the classic automatic flight reaction, which is what happens when we are afraid. Our mind, however, also plans what could be risks. And when faced with another human being, there might be more difficult and threatening issues to deal with".

It goes without saying that the discourse implies possible serious and painful ramifications, which, in the worst-case scenario, could lead to serious consequences other than the "possible death" inherent in an encounter with a bear. "I was struck by the response of one user, who said: "I would rather be attacked by a bear because, if it were a man and I survived, I would have to spend my whole life convincing people to believe what happened to me." - continued the USI researcher, putting on the table the discourse related to gender-based violence -. "This highlights the potential consequences of encountering danger and experiencing various forms of violence, as well as the aftermath in general."

The full interview with Rosalba Morese, by Federica Serrao of Corriere del Ticino, can be accessed by clicking on the following link: (Italian only)