Does COVID-19 come from a Chinese secret laboratory? Or from the CIA after all? Or from Bill Gates? The wildest theories are circulating on the Internet, but how widespread are they, who is more likely to be susceptible to them, and do they have any impact? In several research papers we have investigated this in more detail. Among other things, we looked at the role of nationalism or uncritical patriotism - in Germany, but especially in China.
You can find the article here.
Show results from our surveys on COVID-19: Welcome kisses and handshakes will not be as popular as before, even after the end of the pandemic. In any case, 57% of the respondents want to reduce this permanently. Another interesting result: While in the beginning the belief in conspiracy theories about COVID-19 had no effect on one's own behavior, this has changed in the meantime, and "conspiracy theorists" are more willing to shake hands or give out welcome kisses.
Click here for the article.
As soon as a vaccine against COVID-19 becomes available, the question will arise as to how to convince as many people as possible to be vaccinated.
In an online experiment (with N=303 volunteers, 64% female, 79% university students, average age 26 years), the volunteers were offered three motivations for vaccination Two of these were based on selfish motivations: vaccination reduces the risk of death and prevents limitations caused by an outbreak of the disease. The third - altruistic - motivation was: reducing the risk for people who cannot be vaccinated or who remain vulnerable after vaccination.
The results indicate a positive effect of all motivations. But the motivation that emphasized reducing the risk for people who cannot be vaccinated was by far the most effective. This result implies that more attention should be paid to this rarely discussed aspect in order to increase the willingness to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The paper will be published in the next issue of the journal "Social Health and Behavior".
The abstract is available here.
Using the Apple Maps Mobility Trends Reports, the Google COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports, and data from a worldwide online survey, Marc Oliver Rieger discusses trends in activity patterns in the UK during the lockdown. Specifically, he finds that there was a significant re-increase of activities before the measures were relaxed – a trend also observed in other countries.
The article is available here.
In this article, we investigate the satisfaction with corona measures. Conspiracy theories play an important role.
In recent weeks, criticism has been voiced in many countries about government measures against the COVID 19 crisis. Dissatisfaction has arisen in both directions: some criticise interventions that are too harsh, others complain about inadequate measures. We investigate the factors on which these opinions are based and how they affect satisfaction with the respective government.
There are enormous differences between countries: There is great dissatisfaction in Thailand, Venezuela and Russia. People in Vietnam, Qatar and New Zealand are very satisfied. Germany ranks in the upper midfield in this ranking.
Satisfaction with the crisis management of governments occurs above all when the measures are perceived as well-dosed - not too strong and not too weak. However, very different criteria are used to evaluate the measures. Critics of interventions that are too weak rely mainly on facts, especially the number of deaths. Those who denounce too many and too restrictive interventions attach little importance to this criterion. Here, personal characteristics such as education play a more important role. As education increases, a person is less likely to perceive the government's reaction as too strong.
This perception is also strongly related to the belief in conspiracy theories: Among those who perceive the measures in Germany as too strong, two thirds showed a tendency towards conspiracy theories.
Here you can download the study.
Activities and mobility have been severely limited by the COVID-19 lockdown, but are people patient or is this inactivity slowly eroding? In this research based on data from Apple, Google and an international research group, we find indeed a steady increase in activity that has to be taken into account when estimating the further development of the pandemics and countermeasures.
The study is available here and will be published in Review of Behavioral Economics.
In view of the current situation regarding the SARS-CoV2 pandemic, we have conducted an online survey on the topic of "social distancing". Its first results are summarized in a short article (available in German and English). We hope to be able to make a supporting contribution to improving communication.
The study is available here and will be published in Social Health and Behavior.
Just before the introduction of compulsory masks in shops and local transport, we conducted a study to examine attitudes and behaviour in this respect. The core result is that different groups must be targeted if the wearing of masks is to be encouraged.
The article can be download here.