New research identifies 16 different COVID-19 personality types and the lessons we can learn from this global pandemic.
- New research by Mimi E. Lam at the University of Bergen explores the different "personality types" that have emerged in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- According to Lam, recognizing various COVID-19 identities can refine forecasts of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and impact.
- Global Solutions Initiative, Population Matters, and AME explore how the world (and society) has changed due to COVID-19.
Are you a complier or non-complier personality type?<p><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-020-00679-5" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">New research by Mimi E. Lam</a> at the University of Bergen (Human and Social Sciences Communications) explores the different "personality types" that have emerged in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.<br></p><p>Lam explains to Eurekalert: <em>"</em>...the COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that we are not immune to each other. To unite in our fight against the pandemic, it is important to recognize the basic dignity of all and value the human diversity currently dividing us."</p><p>According to Lam, "Only then, can we foster societal resilience and an ethical COVID-19 agenda. This would pave the way for other global commons challenges whose impacts are less immediate, but no less dire for humanity."</p><p>There are 16 different COVID-19 personality types, and they include the following:</p><ol> <li><strong>Deniers </strong>—<strong> </strong>Individuals who downplay the viral threat and promote a kind of "business as usual" lifestyle.</li><li><strong>Spreaders </strong>—<strong> </strong>Individuals who believe spreading the virus could actually be positive. These are individuals who believe in "herd immunity" and that passing the virus around will eventually allow things to return to normal.</li><li><strong>Harmers </strong>—<strong> </strong>Individuals who intentionally attempt to harm others by spreading the virus (via coughing or spitting, not wearing masks, licking various public surfaces, etc.).</li><li><strong>Realists </strong>—<strong> </strong>Individuals who recognize the reality (and potential harm) of spreading the virus and attempt to adjust their behaviors to not spread the virus.</li><li><strong>Worriers </strong>—<strong> </strong>Individuals who stay informed and safe to manage their uncertainty and fear. These are also individuals who will have a lot of anxiety over the current state of the virus at all times.</li><li><strong>Contemplators </strong>—<strong> </strong>Individuals who have taken "quarantine times" to isolate and reflect on their own lives. These are individuals who may attempt to better themselves (focusing on new hobbies or skills) during times of isolation.</li><li><strong>Hoarders </strong>—<strong> </strong>Individuals who panic-buy and hoard products (such as <a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/toilet-paper-is-a-giant-waste-of-resources" target="_blank">toilet paper</a>) in an attempt to quell their panic and worry over the spreading of the virus.</li><li><strong>Invincibles </strong>—<strong> </strong>Individuals who believe themselves to be immune to the virus. These are also individuals who claim a kind of "if I get sick, I get sick" kind of attitude, not taking time to reflect on the idea that they could be carriers of the virus, spreading it to others.</li><li><strong>Rebels </strong>—<strong> </strong>Individuals who defiantly ignore social distancing measures and various other rules put into place to protect the general public.</li><li><strong>Blamers</strong> — Those who fault others for their fears and frustrations.</li><li><strong>Exploiters </strong>—<strong> </strong>Those who attempt to exploit the current situation (taking advantage of vulnerable people/situations) for power, profit, or brutality.</li><li><strong>Innovators </strong>—<strong> </strong>Individuals who attempt to design or repurposes resources in an attempt to fight the pandemic and contribute to society.</li><li><strong>Supporters </strong>—<strong> </strong>Individuals who show support and solidarity to others around them in regards to fending off the virus or supporting loved ones.</li><li><strong>Altruists </strong>— Individuals who help the vulnerable, elderly, and isolated.</li><li><strong>Warriors </strong>—<strong> </strong>Individuals (such as front-line support workers and health care workers) who combat COVID-19 on the front lines, facing the harsh and grim realities of a global pandemic on a larger scale.</li><li><strong>Veterans </strong>—<strong> </strong>Individuals who have experienced a previous pandemic (such as SARS or MERS) and willingly comply with restrictions.<br></li></ol><p>According to Lam and her research, recognizing various COVID-19 identities can refine forecasts of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and impact. These viral identities can reflect values, social identities, situational contexts, and risk tolerances. Lam suggests that to forecast viral transmission within populations (accounting for different responses), these identified viral behaviors can be clustered by their "compliance" efforts.<br><br></p><ol><li><strong>Non-compilers </strong>are individuals who fall into the following categories: Deniers, Harmers, Invincibles, and Rebels.</li><li><strong>Partial compliers</strong> would be individuals who fall into the categories of: Spreaders, Blamers, and Exploiters.</li><li><strong>Compliers</strong> would be individuals who are in the categories of Realists, Worriers, Contemplators, Hoarders, Innovators, Supporters, Altruists, Warriors, and Veterans.</li></ol><p><strong>Lam suggests that liberal democracies need an ethical policy agenda with three priorities: </strong></p><ul><li>Recognize the diversity of individuals</li><li>Deliberate and negotiate value trade-offs</li><li>Promote public buy-in, trust, and compliance</li></ul><p>By projecting different impacts in COVID-19 transmission and deaths and then correlating those with variable behavioral responses such as the ones listed above, we can reveal the benefits of not only flattening the viral curve but shifting our behavioral curve in a joint human effort to induce more adaptive responses to the pandemic. More research needs to be conducted in this area. </p>
What has COVID-19 taught us as a society?<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTU1OTcwMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MDM2MDA5MH0.3RGt8n8Oll8KaVxfWZhf4scO4FuZTJnBiTo3l5V4nHg/img.jpg?width=980" id="66eb9" width="7200" height="4050" data-rm-shortcode-id="e968da24d34b826d99aca0d35cfaa043" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="image of shop closed due to coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic economy" />
Image by Corona Borealis on Adobe Stock<p><strong>The <a href="https://www.global-solutions-initiative.org/press-news/fundamental-lessons-from-the-covid-19-pandemic-global-solutions-summit-2020-opening-address/" target="_blank">Global Solutions Initiative</a></strong><strong> outlines a few questions and concerns that humankind has been faced with since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020:</strong></p><ul><li>We have been confronted with the true uncertainty and vulnerability of human life and our very existence.<br><br> </li><li>We have been made to face existential questions - what are we here for, what do we want to accomplish? Who are the people that matter most to us?</li></ul><p><strong><a href="https://populationmatters.org/news/2020/12/18/what-covid-19-has-taught-us-about-our-relationship-nature" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Population Matters</a> outlines a few more daunting questions about humankind's relationship with nature: </strong></p><ul><li>What is the link between population growth, environmental destruction, and pandemics?<br><br> </li><li>How has our society's exponential rise in consumption, trade, and population pressure driven a rapid increase in the risk of pandemics? </li></ul><p><strong><a href="https://www.ameinfo.com/industry/life/5-things-covid-19-has-taught-us" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">AME</a> outlines some essential things this pandemic has taught us about humanity and life: </strong></p><ul><li>The meat industry has played a large hand in transmitting this virus. According to a recent study, SARS-CoV-2 originated in bats and has likely been transmitted to human through a scaled mammal called a pangolin (which are highly traded in China despite being deemed illegal). </li></ul><ul><li>Nature can recover from our destructive efforts. Since the pandemic, the world has seen <a href="https://www.sfgate.com/living-in-sf/article/Coyotes-are-being-seen-on-the-empty-streets-15159105.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">coyotes on the streets</a>, <a href="https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-lockdown-conservation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wild boar roaming around in Barcelona</a>, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/09/coronavirus-may-prove-boost-for-uks-bees-and-rare-wildflowers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">more bees, and rare wildflowers in the UK.<br></a> </li><li>Many in-office employees can work from home. This pandemic has altered the way many businesses run and will continue to run in the future. This could cause less pollution and have positive impacts on the environment. </li></ul><p>The research conducted by Lam and subsequent research on how COVID-19 is impacting society can help us grow and adapt and perhaps become better equipped to deal with global pandemics in the future. </p>
Answering the question of who you are is not an easy task. Let's unpack what culture, philosophy, and neuroscience have to say.
- Who am I? It's a question that humans have grappled with since the dawn of time, and most of us are no closer to an answer.
- Trying to pin down what makes you you depends on which school of thought you prescribe to. Some argue that the self is an illusion, while others believe that finding one's "true self" is about sincerity and authenticity.
- In this video, author Gish Jen, Harvard professor Michael Puett, psychotherapist Mark Epstein, and neuroscientist Sam Harris discuss three layers of the self, looking through the lens of culture, philosophy, and neuroscience.
A popular and longstanding wave of thought in psychology and psychotherapy is that diagnosis is not relevant for practitioners in those fields.
A new study looks at why mysterious voices are sometimes taken as spirits and other times as symptoms of mental health issues.
- Both spiritualist mediums and schizophrenics hear voices.
- For the former, this constitutes a gift; for the latter, mental illness.
- A study explores what the two phenomena have in common.
The study<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTQ5Nzc1OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxOTU1ODQwOX0.wlQLO9cjh2hFAz9BXwf2DpaqwepAlybru_OH6J4ZwzI/img.jpg?width=2000&coordinates=64%2C74%2C84%2C330&height=1500" id="2659f" width="2000" height="1500" data-rm-shortcode-id="859b9ea95f570450f7acedffc8abc9ac" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Credit: Camila Quintero Franco/Unsplash<p>The researchers, led by <a href="https://www.dur.ac.uk/research/directory/staff/?mode=staff&id=15156" target="_blank">Adam Powell</a> of Durham University's Hearing the Voice project and Department of Theology and Religion, conducted online surveys of 65 clairaudient mediums they found through contact with spiritualist communities. The survey also included 143 people from the general population who responded negatively to the question "Have you ever had an experience you would describe as 'clairaudient?'" posed through an online study recruitment tool.</p><p>All participants spoke English and were aged 18-75. Most (84.4 percent) were from the U.K., with the rest mostly from the North Americas, Europe, or Australasia.</p><p>Of the spiritualists surveyed, 79 percent said hearing voices was a normal part of their lives at church and at home, while 44.6 percent said that they heard voices every day. Most respondents reported the voices as being inside their heads, though 31.7 percent said they came from outside their bodies.</p><p>Not surprisingly, more spiritualists reported believing in the paranormal than did the general population participants. They also cared less about what others thought of them.</p><p>Both groups were prone to visual hallucinations as well.</p>
Youth and absorption<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTQ5Nzc2NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzE3MTUyNn0.BsqsYO4KFNF9RX9O6TXYE14RysJgiwXua7FegMBf8Ss/img.jpg?width=980" id="5fe11" width="1440" height="1080" data-rm-shortcode-id="b5043b02533749e65eb8befcd05f3062" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Credit: Tanner Boriack/Unsplash<p>Spiritualist clairaudients reported their first experiences with other voices early in life. Of these participants, 18 percent said they had heard voices for as long as they remembered. The average age, however, for first hearing voices was 21.7 years. Schizophrenia typically presents when a person is somewhat older than this, in the <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/childhood-schizophrenia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354483" target="_blank">late 20s</a>.</p><p>Significantly, 71 percent said their experience with voices pre-dated their awareness of spiritualism. Rather than religion prompting the hearing of voices, it seems that it's more the other way around — voices led them to religion.</p><p>Says Powell, "Our findings say a lot about 'learning and yearning.' For our participants, the tenets of spiritualism seem to make sense of both extraordinary childhood experiences as well as the frequent auditory phenomena they experience as practicing mediums."</p><p>Still, the voices came first he says, so "all of those experiences may result more from having certain tendencies or early abilities than from simply believing in the possibility of contacting the dead if one tries hard enough."</p><p>The more likely factor is spiritualist clairaudients' relationship with absorption. Responses to questions based on the 34-point <a href="https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~jfkihlstrom/TAS.htm" target="_blank">Tellegen Absorption Scale</a> revealed that these people tended toward absorptive personality characteristics. These are described by the study's authors as "being readily captured by entrancing stimuli, reporting vivid mental imagery, becoming immersed in one's own thoughts."</p><p>Some, though not all, voice-hearing individuals from the general population were found to exhibit high levels of absorption — those that did were more likely to believe in the paranormal than others.</p>
Implications<p>The study's finding regarding the relative young ages at which spiritualist clairaudients begin hearing voices suggests that these individuals' more welcoming attitude toward the phenomenon may have to do with malleability of youth — a belief in the fantastical is part of being young.</p><p>"Spiritualists tend to report unusual auditory experiences which are positive, start early in life and which they are often then able to control," says co-author <a href="https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/our-staff/m/peter-moseley/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Peter Moseley</a> of Northumbria University. "Understanding how these develop is important because it could help us understand more about distressing or non-controllable experiences of hearing voices too."</p><p>The authors of the study do note, however, that their findings leave two big unanswered questions: Does a tendency toward absorption reveal "a predisposition to having RSEs or a belief in the plausibility of having RSEs?"</p><p>The other obvious big question? It's beyond the scope of this survey, but are those really the voices of the dead?</p>
Study confirms the existence of a special kind of groupthink in large groups.
- Large groups of people everywhere tend to come to the same conclusions.
- In small groups, there's a much wider diversity of ideas.
- The mechanics of a large group make some ideas practically inevitable.
The grouping game<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTQ1NDE2Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY3NTMzNTA4OX0.onCxz1Ea1UdLBRvuuBZrSTQDgol_gXxRMfLhpEy-ZYw/img.jpg?width=980" id="a7e22" width="2767" height="382" data-rm-shortcode-id="397811a5105c39ed50619d7a6ae9175c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Some of the shapes used in the experiment
Credit: Guilbeault, et al./University of Pennsylvania<p>The researchers tested their theory with 1,480 people playing an online "Grouping Game" via Amazon's Mechanical Turk platform. The individuals were paired with another participant or made a member of a group of 6, 8, 24, or 50 people. Each pair and group were tasked with categorizing the symbols shown above, and they could see each other's answers.</p><p>The small groups came up with wildly divergent categories—the entire experiment produced nearly 5,000 category suggestions—while the larger groups came up with categorization systems that were virtually identical to each other.</p><p><a href="https://www.asc.upenn.edu/news-events/news/why-independent-cultures-think-alike-its-not-in-the-brain" target="_blank">Says Centola</a>, "Even though we predicted it, I was nevertheless stunned to see it really happen. This result challenges many long-held ideas about culture and how it forms."</p><p>Nor was this unanimity a matter of having teamed-up like-minded individuals. "If I assign an individual to a small group," says lead author Douglas Guilbeault, "they are much more likely to arrive at a category system that is very idiosyncratic and specific to them. But if I assign that same individual to a large group, I can predict the category system that they will end up creating, regardless of whatever unique viewpoint that person happens to bring to the table."</p>
Why this happens<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTQ1NDE4NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjkzMDg0Nn0.u2hdEIgNw4drFZ2frzx0AJ_MAxIizuM98rdovQrIblk/img.jpg?width=980" id="d3444" width="1440" height="822" data-rm-shortcode-id="576cb567ace7a6a47fd32c510bc3c159" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The many categories suggested by small groups on the left, the few from large groups on the right
Credit: Guilbeault, et al./Nature Communications<p>The striking results of the experiment correspond to a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-019-0607-5" target="_blank">previous study</a> done by NDG that investigated tipping points for people's behavior in networks.</p><p>That study concluded that after an idea enters a discussion among a large network of people, it can gain irresistible traction by popping up again and again in enough individuals' conversations. In networks of 50 people or more, such ideas eventually reach critical mass and become a prevailing opinion.</p><p>The same phenomenon does not happen often enough within a smaller network, where fewer interactions offer an idea less of an opportunity to take hold.</p>