This article goes into detail about how human brains calculate risks in times of crises, such as the pandemic we are all currently experiencing. In passing, it addresses the mechanisms of memory (recency effect, Von Restorff effect, self-relation effect) on how people are reacting to the coronavirus. It uses these aspects of memory to argue that many people are overreacting to the virus, overestimating the threat it poses to them as individuals.
There are many biases that can influence memory. Three of these effects, briefly mentioned in the article, are the recency effect, Von Restorff effect, and self-relation effect. The recency effect is the prevalence of recently learned information in the working memory – the more recently we heard it, the easier it is to remember. The Von Restorff effect describes how an unusual item or occurrence may stick out more in the working memory, because it is abnormal. Examples from the article include the deaths of young individuals from COVID-19. The last effect, self-reference, refers to the prevalence of information that has some relation to oneself – for example, if an individual you knew passed away from COVID-19.
While the author backs up his argument with reputable sources, I do not agree with his overall message. Based off of CDC warnings and the statistics from countries around the world, I personally believe that people are not overreacting to the threat posed by the coronavirus. As a matter of fact, I would argue that until recently, a considerable number of Americans have not known many individuals who passed away from the virus, which has led to people not taking the warnings seriously enough. If he was making this argument with regards to supply hoarding, I would completely agree but he does not explicitly make this point in the article.