Music by Kajiki
No one wanted to read’ his book on pandemic psychology – then Covid hit
In October 2019, a month or so before Covid-19 began to spread
an Australian psychologist, Steven Taylor,
The Psychology of Pandemics.
The stops along the way include prejudices, the role of the media, attitudes to vaccinations, how society manages rumors, and the psychology of conspiracy theories.
not to downplay the significance of the disease
many more people have been psychologically affected
pandemics “are essentially a psychological phenomenon and about the behaviors, attitudes and emotions of people”
“how human factors impact the spreading of disease and emotional disturbance”.
Vaccine hesitancy doesn’t really get at the motivational roots for why people don’t want to get vaccinate
“rules, regulation, or attempts at persuasion that are perceived as threatening to one’s autonomy and freedom of choice”.
The you’re-not-the-boss-of-me kind of response is seen particularly in people raised in cultures that take pride in freedom and individualism
because they perceive their freedoms are being threatened
motivated thinking”, otherwise fantasy-thinking in which Covid-19, or climate change, are seen as hoaxes so people can tell themselves positive stories that everything is going to be fine and their freedom is not threatened.
“The harder you try to push and persuade these psychologically reactive people, the more they are likely to push back
they were predictions of reactions based on research of what happened during previous pandemics.
I was pretty much surprised that pretty much everything in the book unfolded,
Taylor theorizes that with the Delta variant on the rise, any return to lockdown could trigger an exaggerated backlash and rebellion – part of the psychological phenomenon commonly known as pandemic fatigue
What’s been different about this pandemic, Taylor says, is that all the basic phenomena seen in the past have happened on a broader, grander scale.
Part of the reason, he says, is social media and the 24/7 news cycle
The Psychology of Pandemics was rejected by the publisher
“interesting, but no one’s going to want to read it”.
The attitude, ironically, was characteristic of Taylor’s thesis – that people tend to be too preoccupied with the present to plan for the future
We’re going to see recurrent outbreaks of Covid, but the desire to socialize is stronger than the fear of getting infected.” And that is psychology.