At what point did you think that jumping from a cliff 22 meters above the sea was a good idea? Several experts consulted by Diario de Mallorca analyze the psychological keys that caused the death of two tourists in Calvià (Mallorca) on Thursday. An 34-year-old British man died after falling after wandering outside the balcony of a hotel in Magaluf, and a 31-year-old Dutchman drowned after jumping from the highest part of the Malgrats Islands. And the phenomenon continues: on Friday a young woman suffered serious injuries when she jumped into the sea from a height of about ten meters in Cala Varques, in the municipality of Manacor.
The psychiatrist Miguel Lázaro, the psychologist Javier Torres and the forensic doctor Javier Alarcón dissect the psychological keys of the phenomenon, marked by three keys: the consumption of toxic substancesthe exhibitionism in the social media and one risk underestimation in vacation time.
From the outset, the three experts point out clear differences in the two cases registered on Thursday. All the evidence collected by the investigators indicates that the death of the British man who threw himself from the seventh floor of a hotel in Magaluf was marked by the consumption of alcohol or drugs. In contrast, the case of the Dutch tourist who jumped into the sea from a cliff in Malgrats and drowned after a tremendous impact against the rocks would be caused by an exhibitionist desire, to record a video to post on social networks.
“All behaviors, even the most irrational, have an explanation,” says psychiatrist Miguel Lázaro. In the two cases registered on Thursday, situations in which consequences are underestimated. That of the deceased in Magaluf would be marked by the consumption of toxic substances, which cause disinhibition and a lack of perception of danger. The second case, that of the man who jumped from a cliff in Las Malgrats while his partner recorded him, has different connotations. “The frontal lobe of the brain, where judgment resides, seems to be on vacation“, he explains, “and it seems that the decision is made by the brain’s limbic system, which manages sensations and emotions. In such a situation, the frontal lobe, which is the one that slows me down, does not act, while the limbic system is at its maximum “.
The psychiatrist also perceives a desire for exhibitionism, recording the video of the jump with the intention of spreading it on social networks and warns about the danger of mimetic behavior. “There is the risk of Mallorca being associated with these actsspread to other tourists who associate vacations with these sensations”.
The dean of the College of Psychologists of the Balearic Islands, Javier Torres, agrees when pointing out the differences between the two fatal cases. The one from Magaluf would be marked by the consumption of drugs or alcohol, which would have caused the Briton to be unaware of the risk. “Malgrats seems to be the case of a person hungry for adrenaline, who does not value the consequences of his actions, neither for himself nor for the people around him. We find something, the jump from a cliff to record a video, which is becoming a fashion, search for an extreme video of a stuntto get a maximum of likes and views on social networks. It’s hard to say, but just like traffic campaigns, this video can raise people’s awareness and prevent these behaviors.”
Torres also defends the importance of limit alcohol consumption to stop these behaviors.
The coroner Javier Alarcon points, in the case of Magaluf, to a picture of delirium caused by the consumption of toxic substances, while in the case of Malgrats he perceives a need to show off. “It is habitual behavior, we want to get people’s appreciation. The problem arises when we are willing to put ourselves at risk to get this acceptance“.
Alargón points out that this is nothing new. “The internet is full of images of people dying making these extreme videos.It’s the path to easy popularity.”