Because collective behaviour change is the only way we can stop the spread of COVID-19

27 Aug 2020

It is clear that the challenge that the COVID-19 outbreak poses is both huge and rather unique.

social distancingGiven the contagious nature of COVID-19, whether an individual will become infected is determined not only by their own health behaviours (whether they engage in physical distancing, wash their hands more frequently, wear a mask, etc.), but also by the behaviours of everyone physically close to them.

Getting the virus under control requires coordinated collective level action.

It requires everyone to engage in physical distancing, everyone to wash their hands more frequently, and (in some areas) everyone to wear a mask.

If there is no collective level compliance with these recommended health behaviours, it is not just individuals, but all of us (i.e., the collective) who will be exposed to the virus.

UQ psychologists Professor Jolanda Jetten and Professor Alex Haslam have collaborated on the book Together Apart: The Psychology of COVID-19, with Professor Steve Reicher from the University of St Andrews and Dr Tegan Cruwys from Australian National University.

In this blog post on Why Social Science?, they explain that an effective response to COVID-19 demands knowledge on how to build a sense of “we-ness” so that we unlock the power of the group to come together in solidarity to counter the threat that COVID-19 poses.

Read full blog post