Hjälpandets psykologi i en pandemi


  • Arvid Erlandsson


Infection-reducing prosociality: The psychology of helping during a pandemic

Washing one’s hands, maintaining physical distance, not meeting elderly, or avoiding eating out, were up until recently not perceived to be characteristically moral behaviors. For known reasons, this changed in early 2020, and these behaviors are now perceived as good examples of human prosociality because they reduce the risk of spreading the Coronavirus. This chapter zooms in on how the Covid-19 pandemic changed human prosociality. I begin by defining and operationalizing the term “infection-reducing prosociality” and compare this novel type of prosociality against traditional prosociality (donating money and volunteering) and against another modern type of prosociality (climate-friendly behavior). I then review recent Covid-related research that have investigated: (A) which individual-level and cultural-level factors that predict infection-reducing prosociality, or (B) how social norms and different types of persuasion messages influence infection-reducing prosociality. In the final part, I discuss some of the many heuristics and biases that can influence human judgment and decision making when communicating risk, and conclude that disagreements about national policies occur not only because of uncertainty regarding consequences, but also because different people value different things in life.