Environmental Studies From Crisis To Cure PDF
The COVID-19 pandemic represents a massive global health crisis. Because the crisis requires large-scale behaviour change and places significant psychological burdens on individuals, insights from the social and behavioural sciences can be used to help align human behaviour with the recommendations of epidemiologists and public health experts. Here we discuss evidence from a selection of research topics relevant to pandemics, including work on navigating threats, social and cultural influences on behaviour, science communication, moral decision-making, leadership, and stress and coping. In each section, we note the nature and quality of prior research, including uncertainty and unsettled issues. We identify several insights for effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight important gaps researchers should move quickly to fill in the coming weeks and months.
Environmental Studies From Crisis To Cure PDF
Due to space constraints, this paper provides a brief summary of each topic. Research topics discussed here were identified by the corresponding authors as potentially relevant to pandemic response and thus are not exhaustive (for a review of research on specific actions, such as handwashing, face-touching and self-isolation, see ref. 2). Furthermore, research on these topics is ongoing and, in many cases, far from settled. We have highlighted relevant findings in each area as well as critical gaps in the literature. Insights and implications for policy should be interpreted with caution because there is very little published social science research on the current pandemic. Thus, our discussion often draws from different circumstances than the current pandemic (for example, laboratory experiments examining hypothetical scenarios), and the quality of the evidence cited varies substantially (for example, correlational studies vs field experiments; single studies vs systematic reviews of substantial evidence). In the sections that follow, we try to describe the quality of evidence to facilitate careful, critical engagement by readers. We call for the scientific community to mobilize rapidly to produce research to directly inform policy and individual and collective behaviour in response to the pandemic.
Conspiracy theories emerged shortly after the first news of COVID-19 and have continued to persist99. Some concerned the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, for example, that it was a bioweapon created by the Chinese to wage war on the US or vice versa100. Others focused on prevention and cure, for instance, that conventional medical treatment should not be trusted and that people should use alternative remedies to ward off the virus101. It is not surprising that conspiracy theories have flourished at this time. Research suggests that people feel the need to explain large events with proportionally large causes102 and are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories about events with serious consequences103 and in times of crisis104. This is likely because people are more drawn to conspiracy theories when important psychological needs are frustrated105. Thus, conspiracy theories may gain more traction as COVID-19 spreads and more people isolate themselves106.
In the domain of science communication, scholars have explored a host of messaging approaches, including providing information in evidence-based ways that increase understanding and action141. Decades of research has found that, whether recipients are motivated to think carefully or not142, sources perceived as credible are more persuasive143. The credibility of sources stems from how trustworthy and expert they are perceived to be144. Enlisting trusted voices has been shown to make public health messages more effective in changing behaviour during epidemics. During the West African Ebola crisis, for example, religious leaders across faiths in Sierra Leone advocated for practices such as handwashing and safe burials. The engagement of the faith-based sector was considered a turning point in the epidemic response145. Therefore, finding credible sources for different audiences who are able to share public health messages might prove effective.
There are many misconceptions about HIV and AIDS. Three misconceptions are that AIDS can spread through casual contact, that sexual intercourse with a virgin will cure AIDS, and that HIV can infect only gay men and drug users. In 2014, some among the British public wrongly thought one could get HIV from kissing (16%), sharing a glass (5%), spitting (16%), a public toilet seat (4%), and coughing or sneezing (5%). Other misconceptions are that any act of anal intercourse between two uninfected gay men can lead to HIV infection, and that open discussion of HIV and homosexuality in schools will lead to increased rates of AIDS.
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.
Whether a country is a democracy or autocracy does not appear to have a clear bearing on its effectiveness in responding to exogenous shocks. Multiple studies, whether on climate change mitigation, response to the coronavirus pandemic, or otherwise, have shown no clear relationship between regime type and performance.20 Each system has attributes that could conceivably benefit them: Democracies tend to be more transparent, better able to self-correct, more accountable, and more meritocratic, all of which should lend themselves to better crisis response. Meanwhile, many autocracies have less internal elite friction, quicker response times, and more ability to leverage close relations with the media.21 Though many authoritarian leaders claim that their more unilateral decisionmaking enables strong leadership, there is scant evidence that this translated into a better pandemic response.22 Although some argue that authoritarian regimes enjoy higher levels of societal trust in government, data from undemocratic systems is unreliable in accurately capturing public opinion.23