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The psychological impact is often more extensive than the direct somatic effects of pandemics.
More people may die from the lockdown than from Covid-19, due to psychological stress, lack of physical exercise and social connections, and postponing of non-Covid-19-related medical consultations and surgeries.
We live under the dictatorship of urgency. Pandemic science is based on statistical risk calculations, not on absolute facts or the results from nationwide experiments.
In sum, PCR tests have been critisiced for the large number of false-positives and false-negatives, and a lack of a gold standard.
Researchers on the psychology of conspiracy theories often use the rule-of-thumb that the more people are involved in a conspiracy, the less likely the conspiracy is to be true, because it is more likely that there will be some whistle-blowers amongst a large group of conspiracists.
Prime Minister Johnson referred to a piece of advice from the Behavioural Insight Teams (BIT) that a lockdown early during the pandemic could lead to ‘behavioural fatigue’: if restrictions come into force too early, people could become increasingly uncooperative and less vigilant, before the peak of the pandemic had even started.
Similarly, the physical and psychological side effects of the lockdowns – including suicides and deaths from postponed non-Covid-19-related medical consultations and surgeries – seem to be widely accepted without much public outcry – as the bigger picture is saving Life in General.
Under heightened stress and uncertain situations beyond one’s control, people seem to lose their ability to weigh accurately and judge information.
Exposure → anxiety + perception of large risk → more exposure -> more anxiety and perception of larger risk -> etc.
Several studies indicate that the more time people spent on following the news or social media, the larger they perceive the risks to be and the more mental health problems they report. Thus, it seems the amount of exposure – or addiction – that predicts the impact. Furthermore, other studies indicate that the media have a larger influence when people trust them, whereas individuals critical of the media will be less influenced in their perception and their mental health.
We cannot control or manage these unknowns; the best we can do is to ‘cope with the unknown’.
During collective disasters and grief, people can benefit from reconstructing their perception of the world and meaning in life.
In everyday daily life, we rarely reflect on our body and out health risks. We simply follow our habits.
As Merleau-Ponty (1982) wrote: 'We understand the world from our phenomenological experience of our body.'
In contrast with this lived experience of our body, health risks are abstract, anonymous, and dehumanised
Being confronted with the fact that our body can fail and die, which can provoke a feeling of threat and anxiety.
Some individuals may prefer the certainty of illness over the existential uncertainty.
A concept related to worldviews is 'meaning of life'. People often speak about the importance of meaning when they are confronted with life's boundaries, such as the threat of chronic or life-threatening disease.
We live in a World Risk Society: we are continuously reminded of risks around us, from the financial risks of our loans and mortgages to climate change.
interested in psychology, philosophy, and literary📚 | INTP-T & nyctophile | welcome to Irza Fidah's safe haven~!
The Psychology of Covid-19 explores how the coronavirus pandemic is giving rise to a new order in our personal lives, societies, and politics. Rooted in systematic research on Covid-19 and previous pandemics, this book describes how people perceive and respond to Covid-19, and how it has impacted a broad range of domains, including lifestyle, politics, science, mental health, media, and meaning in life. Building on this, the book then sets out how we can improve our psychological and social resilience, to safeguard ourselves against the psychological effects of future pandemics.
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