Damnit, I forgot to buy toilet roll! What your personality reveals about panic buying toilet roll behavior.

Damnit, I forgot to buy toilet roll! What your personality reveals about panic buying toilet roll behavior.

Aisles of what was to be filled with toilet roll were left barren when coronavirus measures came into force. A sense of panic flooded supermarkets as the population scavenged for the final loo roll. Did you perhaps forget to buy toilet roll after your roommate reminded you to stock up on during the panic buying fiasco? This is related to your “prospective memory” – a type of memory that involves remembering to perform a planned action at some future point in time. 

A recent study discovered that people high in conscientiousness and emotionality were more likely to panic buy toilet roll. Conscientious people are usually diligent, efficient, organized – desiring to complete tasks well. Those high in emotionality tend to experience a high level of tension and apprehension in daily life. A team of researchers and I hypothesized that perhaps many shoppers were shocked to see the images of empty stores across the globe engulf their social media feeds. Thus, they set the future intention to remember to buy toilet paper if and/or when coronavirus measures were put in place in their area. So, your roommate remembered seeing these shocking images and told you to remember to buy toilet paper, thus you set the future intention to buy toilet paper when you go shopping (through using your prospective memory).

In our study, we are investigating whether people high in conscientiousness and low in neuroticism have a better prospective memory through a series of personality questionnaires and a computerized task measuring their prospective memory ability. Highly neurotic people (similar to emotionality) experience anxiety, worry, loneliness, etc. more than average. Perhaps shoppers higher in conscientiousness remembered to buy toilet roll unlike those lower in conscientiousness left “toilet-roll-less”.

Yours sincerely, Group 29

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