COVID-19 Spreads Across the World


COVID-19 Spreads Across the World

As COVID-19 spreads across the world, cross-cultural comparisons are at the forefront of people's minds. Might it be that the spread of the virus and coping with its impact is affected not only by the population demographics, health status, healthcare characteristics and the like, but also by cultural factors, such as models of physical privacy, optimism, altruism, or the structure of social networks? Cultural psychology is well-equipped to address such questions and has much to contribute to emerging research on COVID-19. Cultural systems have evolved in part in response to socioecological threats, such as pathogens. Cultural contexts with high historical exposure to pathogens have developed shared strategies for limiting contact with outgroup members, creating stable relational ties, shaping models of cooperation, and increasing adherence to group norms. As people around the world respond to the ongoing threat from COVID-19, cultural models of pathogen response continue to have relevance for people's ability to appraise the threat, coordinate and regulate behavioral responses, communicate about the threat, process a myriad of changes in their lives, and organize joint action.

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated threats and stressors that are shared by a very large number of people living in different cultural contexts across different scales of analysis (e.g., both between societies and within-society). Although this threat unites humankind, it also highlights inequalities and foregrounds some culturally-shaped ways to respond while deemphasizing and devaluing others. While it highlights our common identity as vulnerable humans, it also fans the flame of negative cultural representations of minority groups and generates cultural conflict. Using the tools of cultural psychology to better understand culturally-shaped affordances and actual responses to COVID-19 is an important goal

Media contact

Alex john
Editorial Assistant
Immunotherapy Open Access