Social & Behavioral Science Spotlight – Michelle vanDellen
Michelle vanDellen, PhD
Associate Professor, Behavioral and Brain Sciences Program
Topic: Psychological reactions to the pandemic
Understanding how people react to policies, governmental authorities, and situations can improve implementation of policies. Dr. Michelle vanDellen is leading the PsyCorona project and is tracking 50,000+ participants from 22 countries each week. The data collection began in March when the COVID-19 pandemic was just unfolding. This international project includes integration with data scientists to merge big data sets connecting geo-tracking, policy documentation, and actual viral spread, with the psychological constructs that have been assessed.
One preliminary finding is the observed difference in men and women’s mortality rate due to COVID-19 may not be entirely biological. All of the current research findings can be viewed at PsyCorona.org . At this time there are 31 manuscripts and policy reports that have already been approved to use the data even though the project is anticipated to last for quite awhile. Dr. vanDellen’s team wants to capture both acute and long-term effects of COVID-19 on psychological and social factors.
“Behavioral insights are valuable to inform the planning of appropriate pandemic response measures,” stated Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, World Health Organization Regional Director for Europe. The WHO just released a statement that behavioral science is critical.