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Animals, Human Behaviour

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is not limited to humans

I have noticed the FOMO abbreviation being used a lot over the past decade or so [1], especially on social media, as if it’s a new thing.

But it is not. Fear of missing out goes back into evolutionary time.

Anyone who has ever observed two or more cats or dogs will have seen this behaviour. If one animal notices that another animal has something worth having, it will investigate, and possibly even try to steal, what the other animal has. I have also seen this behaviour in pigeons in the city.

I haven’t observed sufficient other species to be able to say that it affect all species, but it is possible that FOMO is built into not just our DNA, but possibly the DNA of most, if not all, (at least moderately) intelligent and aware living things.

 

[1] This article at the Boston Magazine claims that the first usage was in 2000, but that FOMO became ubiquitous in 2014.

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