When we stress, our brain shifts to emergency mode and reprioritizes. For many, the first thing to go is any pretense of empathy. It's amazing how many people will put "getting to the counter five seconds faster" above "every other person in the world." Or "realizing I'm unarmed and outnumbered," which really should be your first instinct when you start acting like an a*****e in an anonymous crowd, every one of whom could provide alibis for the others while Orient Express-ing your ass into chunks.
Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty
"Spend one more minute at the head of the queue shouting about expired vouchers. We'll be the United Colors of Beatdown."
Back when our brains were being built, an a*****e mode made sense, because any "crisis situation" was usually bounding toward you with a mouth full of knives and a hungry expression. Social niceties could be sacrificed. As could the slowest person you were being nice to.
Image Source/Photodisc/Getty Images
"We'll need you to collate the copies, make the coffee, and wear 5 pounds of veal to go meet the clients from Panthera leo."