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Br J Soc Psychol ; 62(2): 992-1012, 2023 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2299869


While public health crises such as the coronavirus pandemic transcend national borders, practical efforts to combat them are often instantiated at the national level. Thus, national group identities may play key roles in shaping compliance with and support for preventative measures (e.g., hygiene and lockdowns). Using data from 25,159 participants across representative samples from 21 nations, we investigated how different modalities of ingroup identification (attachment and glorification) are linked with reactions to the coronavirus pandemic (compliance and support for lockdown restrictions). We also examined the extent to which the associations of attachment and glorification with responses to the coronavirus pandemic are mediated through trust in information about the coronavirus pandemic from scientific and government sources. Multilevel models suggested that attachment, but not glorification, was associated with increased trust in science and compliance with federal COVID-19 guidelines. However, while both attachment and glorification were associated with trust in government and support for lockdown restrictions, glorification was more strongly associated with trust in government information than attachment. These results suggest that both attachment and glorification can be useful for promoting public health, although glorification's role, while potentially stronger, is restricted to pathways through trust in government information.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , Government , Hygiene
Br J Soc Psychol ; 2022 Nov 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2227059


Conspiracy Beliefs (CB) are a key vector of violent extremism, radicalism and unconventional political events. So far, social-psychological research has extensively documented how cognitive, emotional and intergroup factors can promote CB. Evidence also suggests that adherence to CB moves along social class lines: low-income and low-education are among the most robust predictors of CB. Yet, the potential role of precarity-the subjective experience of permanent insecurity stemming from objective material strain-in shaping CB remains largely unexplored. In this paper, we propose for the first time a socio-functional model of CB. We test the hypothesis that precarity could foster increased CB because it undermines trust in government and the broader political 'elites'. Data from the World Value Survey (n = 21,650; Study 1, electoral CB) and from representative samples from polls conducted in France (n = 1760, Study 2a, conspiracy mentality) and Italy (n = 2196, Study 2b, COVID-19 CB), corroborate a mediation model whereby precarity is directly and indirectly associated with lower trust in authorities and higher CB. In addition, these links are robust to adjustment on income, self-reported SES and education. Considering precarity allows for a truly social-psychological understanding of CB as the by-product of structural issues (e.g. growing inequalities). Results from our socio-functional model suggest that implementing solutions at the socio-economic level could prove efficient in fighting CB.

Sci Rep ; 12(1): 3724, 2022 03 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1908231


U.S.-based research suggests conservatism is linked with less concern about contracting coronavirus and less preventative behaviors to avoid infection. Here, we investigate whether these tendencies are partly attributable to distrust in scientific information, and evaluate whether they generalize outside the U.S., using public data and recruited representative samples across three studies (Ntotal = 34,710). In Studies 1 and 2, we examine these relationships in the U.S., yielding converging evidence for a sequential indirect effect of conservatism on compliance through scientific (dis)trust and infection concern. In Study 3, we compare these relationships across 19 distinct countries. Although the relationships between trust in scientific information about the coronavirus, concern about coronavirus infection, and compliance are consistent cross-nationally, the relationships between conservatism and trust in scientific information are not. These relationships are strongest in North America. Consequently, the indirect effects observed in Studies 1-2 only replicate in North America (the U.S. and Canada) and in Indonesia. Study 3 also found parallel direct and indirect effects on support for lockdown restrictions. These associations suggest not only that relationships between conservatism and compliance are not universal, but localized to particular countries where conservatism is more strongly related to trust in scientific information about the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Politics , Trust , Adult , Aged , Attitude , COVID-19/virology , Canada , Female , Health Behavior , Humans , Indonesia , Male , Middle Aged , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Surveys and Questionnaires , United States/epidemiology
Curr Biol ; 31(14): R889-R890, 2021 07 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1326968


Our social world has been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond the direct impact of the pandemic on physical health, the social distancing measures implemented worldwide to slow down disease transmission have dramatically impacted social interactions1,2. These measures, including orders to stay at home and to maintain a social distance of at least 2 meters, have been essential to limit the spread of the disease, but they have had severe costs for humans as social animals2. Right before and right after the adoption of the most stringent measures in Switzerland in Spring 2020, we were conducting a series of experiments to measure the representation of the so-called peripersonal space - the space immediately surrounding our body, where we normally interact with objects and other individuals3. We found that the introduction of social distancing measures led to a reduction in the extent of the peripersonal space and enhanced its segregation between individuals, as if the presence of others in close space would activate an implicit form of freezing response.

COVID-19/psychology , Personal Space , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Photic Stimulation , Physical Distancing , Switzerland/epidemiology , Touch Perception , Virtual Reality