Annual Lecture Series (in-person)
Lunchtime Talks (in-person)
- This event has passed.
LTT: N. Byrd
February 9, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm EST
Nick Byrd, Carnegie Mellon University and the Stevens Institute of Technology
Your Health vs. My Liberty: Philosophical Beliefs Dominated Reflection and Identifiable Victim Effects when Predicting Public Health Recommendation Compliance during COVID-19 Pandemic
This will be an online lecture held via Zoom, and pre-registration is required. Register here: https://pitt.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_LCTU5Oi8SjCLu4CC5pgNqQ
ABSTRACT: Philosophers and scientists have emphasized alarmingly ineffective responses to global crises. For example, people prioritize specific identifiable victims more than unspecified statistical victims. To understand individual differences in responses to the COVID19 pandemic, two experiments investigated how compliance with public health recommendations depended on messaging, reflection, and prior philosophical beliefs (Total N = 998). Only one experiment found that messaging about individual victims improved compliance compared to messaging about statistical victims—i.e., “flatten the curve” graphs. The second experiment found that messaging that mentioned flu (vs. COVID19) indirectly reduced compliance by reducing perceived threat of the pandemic. However, both experiments found that moral beliefs were the best direct predictor of compliance. The second experiment measured more philosophical beliefs and found that religiosity, political orientation, and beliefs about science also predicted compliance. This suggests that non-compliance with public health recommendations may be less about ineffective messaging or reasoning than philosophical differences.