Research Topic

The Cultural Psychology of the COVID-19 Pandemic

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About this Research Topic

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 ...

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. This Research Topic invites papers that examine the many ways in which cultural-psychological factors affect responses to COVID-19.

A non-exhaustive list of research areas covered by this Research Topic include the following:

- Investigations of the association between variation in engagement with cultural patterns and rates of COVID-19 infection; understandings of COVID-19; or intrapersonal, interpersonal, and collective responses to COVID-19

- Effects of factors such as class, race, religion, acculturation, and gender on responses and vulnerability to COVID-19, as informed by cultural psychology

- The effects of cultural engagement on behavioral, cognitive, or affective responses to COVID-19, ranging from normative functioning to expressions of distress

- Studies of the ways in which cultural products from different cultural contexts reflect the COVID-19 pandemic

- Examination how information related to the pandemic and its consequences propagates in different cultural contexts


***Due to the exceptional nature of the COVID-19 situation, Frontiers is waiving all article publishing charges for COVID-19 related research in this Research Topic until 31st December 2020.***


Keywords: Coronavirus, COVID-19, behavioral immune system, culture, pathogens, misinformation, public health compliance, social distancing, cultural contexts


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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