(NECN) – Today, Friday, December 21, Mayans in Guatemala's Guatemala City gathered for a traditional ritual to welcome the end of one calendar and the start of another.
Although this date, December 21, 2012, was one that some had long-feared would mark the end of the world.
As experts on Mayan culture have assured those who were concerned, 12/21/12 is just the end of a cycle.
Dr. Todd Farchione is joining us. He's an assistant director of research at the center for anxiety and related disorders at Boston University
The Center for Anxiety at Boston University hasn't seen an increase in calls from anxious people related to the Mayan calendar.
Are there any similarities to Y2K and the year 2000?
“These things come up, they do come up all the time. The idea of the apocalypse. At various points in time, it does come up, and Y2K was just another example of that,” says Dr. Farchione.
Why do we buy into this doomsday notion?
“It’s one of these things. There’s lots of factors. Some people have more of a propensity towards it, towards worrying about it. Some people just worry about things,” he says. “It’s all over the Internet. It’s the spread of information so quickly. This is where you can get mass hysteria.”
Reality shows don’t help either that focus on doomsday preppers.
“Those certainly don’t help. People watch that and then they start to think, ‘maybe I should be concerned about these things. Maybe something bad might happen.’”
How do we know when to worry and when not to?
“Look for the evidence. Go to the scientists. Go to the people who actually have the information, as opposed to something that just shows up randomly on the Internet and people start to build it up and talk about it…personally, I wouldn’t put too much stock in what the doomsday preppers are saying.”