Beliefs and Knowledge Regarding Covid-19
Dr. Jennifer Perillo
Why do people believe what they believe? What makes people question the official explanation of events in times of crisis? Our research attempts to explore these questions, among others. The Covid-19 pandemic has presented a unique opportunity to study how beliefs influence people's actions in times of crisis. Specifically, we are studying the relationship between various predictor variables (e.g., anxiety, social isolation, political ideology) and conspiracy belief. We are also examining how conspiracy beliefs and misinformation influence important behaviors recommended to slow the spread of the virus, including hand-washing, social distancing, and increased sanitization.
By investigating the factors that may increase suseptibility to belief in conspiracy theories, we can better understand the societal phenomenon of disregarding widely accepted information. More importantly, we can examine what sorts of beliefs influence a person to discount important behavioral recommendations. Considering the novel Covid-19, adherence to social distancing policies is crucial to slowing the spread of the virus, reducing hospitalizations, and deaths; thus, it is important to learn why people do what they do. Our research has wider implications in general about spreading public health information effectively.