VSSL's Dr. Joshua Liao recently wrote an article for Forbes arguing that while "recovery requires reliable data and strong public health data surveillance", ultimately "it will be the psychology behind Americans’ behaviors that dictates how the country rebounds."
Dr. Liao notes one major reason: “heuristics", a term from behavioral and decision science used to describe mental shortcuts that human use to make decisions, particularly under the pressure of time and uncertainty. Heuristics help individuals minimize stress or "cognitive load" when making decisions.
Though these approaches can work well, they can also work against us.
Dr. Liao describes how, "in a global pandemic, distorted perceptions about infection risks can lead Americans – leaders, business owners, employees, and the public alike – away from good decisions and behaviors. For leaders, that determines how they pace reopenings and communicate information to constituents. For business owners and employees, that determines how they about implement policies that preserve workplace productivity and safety. For all of us, that determines what activities that may result in under-engagement (e.g., avoidance even after restrictions are lifted) or over-engagement (e.g., premature rush to restricted activities)."
Read the full article here.