It would depend on who the people are....and what had happened.
If it was family, friends, strangers.
I have been tested, and there are times my heart will race, which is normal.
I have even been on the edge of being taken hostage by an inmate.
I was so calm, I just kept thinking''darn we won't be having those Pork Chops tonight!''.?*#!? now that is crazy thinking, but it did happen .
It has always been a very interesting topic to me.
People do different things in certain times.
If a child like my grandchildren were part of the problem...I would faint from
the sheer stress... e.g. run over by a car..Heaven Forbid!!
I have seen people stand with a funny grin on their faces, after watching a young man loose his life, in front of them.I never did work that one out.!!
In fact when I think about it, I just have no idea what was going on in their minds...maybe total disbelief.
One really can't give a true answer, because it totally depends on the situation, and person involved.What their life is like at that time, and the stress in their life.
As they told us in class, when doing a study on this subject, you can never ''pick it'' meaning reaction.
I once had a guy try and get into my house very late at night, and he was at the back door.
I called the Police, and I was very scared.
When the Police got him, and I saw him, I wanted to beat the hell of him!
''Why'', maybe because I felt such fear that he caused me.
People 'think' they will be ok, but it is impossible to predict.
Unless, you have been trained by the Police-or Army-Navy etc.
This question was in part prompted by your reply about coping with three boys and all that threw at you!
You have truly been tested in many ways, what strength you must have. I think you're right that often people don't realise how well they will respond in a crisis until they are in that situation.
When in trouble
Or in doubt,
Run in circles
Scream and shout!
I am deeply affected by other people's emotions and find it very hard to stay calm if others are stressed or panicking. However, when in a situation that I find stressful, I can appear very calm and as if I'm coping so that others often have no idea how stressed I am. I just wish I could stay that calm in other situations!