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Personality predicts the likelihood of being at home during a pandemic, with or without a blockade




A team of psychologists at the University of Cambridge, Columbia University, and Harvard University surveyed more than 101,000 people in 55 countries to find out if they were at home due to the coronavirus from late March to early April 2020. Did. The results were published in the journal American Psychologist today.

Researchers have found that a stay-at-home order is least likely to stay home according to official guidance. The team suggests that coordinating public health messages for more outgoing people in society can promote overall collective compliance and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“The diplomats were sociable and sociable, and they found it particularly difficult to stay trapped in their homes and not see others. They were most likely to break the blockade rules, in March. During April, he was less at home than any other personality type, “said Friedrich Getz, a PhD researcher at the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Psychology and the first author of the report.

Late March and early April 2020 coincided with the early acceleration stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was also a time when government policies regarding staying at home varied from country to country and changed rapidly over time. Stopping the spread of the coronavirus relied on those who followed official guidance.

This study examined five key traits that psychologists commonly use to characterize their personality: coordination, integrity, extroversion, neurotic personality, and openness. Pleasant people tend to be more obedient and trustworthy, and conscientious people are diligent and compliant. People who score high on these personality traits tend to stay home when advised to do so.

Those who were rated neurotic, and those with a very open-minded personality, decided to stay more home, even before the blockade took place – they already caught the coronavirus. I was worried. Researchers believe that these groups are more likely to maintain social distance than other personality types as movement restrictions are lifted.

“People with neurosis decided early on that the virus wasn’t confusing and decided to stay home,” Götz said.

“I think open-minded people are so connected and tend to be interested in the wider world that they recognized the potential effects of the coronavirus earlier than others and acted accordingly. “Masu,” added Andrés Gvirtz, a PhD researcher in the Faculty of Psychology in Cambridge. Second author of the study.

“For example, a television report on the situation of COVID-19 in Italy, which was more advanced than the UK in terms of the effects of the virus, showed the behavior of the early open-minded people in the pandemic.”

As the government tightened the blockade rules from late March to early April, more people, regardless of personality, began to follow the blockade rules. The survey recorded high compliance at this point, with more than 80% of people surveyed worldwide reporting being at home.

The personality of the survey participants was graded on a 7-point scale by the “strength” of each of the five major personality traits. It was found that a single change in a person’s tendency towards any of the five traits changed the likelihood of being at home by about 1%. Researchers emphasize that even this small percentage can have significant consequences given the global pandemic size and the contagiousness of the coronavirus.

Researchers suggest that public health messages can be tailored for diplomats to promote compliance with blockade rules for the entire population. They suggest that such a message may try to convey an understanding of how difficult it is to stay at home, especially for those who really enjoy being with friends and family. , Point out that guidance is being implemented to protect those people.

“Government regulation has a huge impact on the behavior of the general public,” says Götz. “But it’s important to realize that not all people follow all the rules. Stay-at-home orders are the least likely to be at home when the government advises, so they are a particular challenge during a pandemic. I will raise. “

Governments around the world have sought to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by encouraging or implementing socially distant behavior by setting blockades that require people to stay home except for specific purposes. I am.

This study was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council of the United Kingdom (part of the UK Institute for Research and Technology Innovation), Cambridge Trust, and Peterhouse Cambridge.


Götz, FM et al:’How Personalities and Policies Predict Pandemic Behavior: Understanding Shelter-in-Place in 55 Countries at the Onset of COVID-19.. American psychologist, 2020. DOI: 10.1037 / amp0000740


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