Science and society

  • Science and society

    The behavioral sciences and the pandemic response

    Should decision-makers have listened more to behavioral scientists when making decisions about how to combat the pandemic? There certainly are some general insights from research in the behavioral sciences that are important for effectively combating a pandemic. Some general points of this nature are summarized by Van Bavel et al. (2020).   For instance, if we want to get people to wear face masks, then we need to promote norms that encourage mask-wearing (i.e., we need to normalize it). The most straightforward way of doing this (apart from using fines) would be to (a) clearly communicate that mask-wearing is a desirable and charitable act—something that “good citizens” do—and (b) have…