The Behavioral immune system and attitudes toward COVID-19

Date
12/15/2020
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Abstract

The Behavioral Immune System acts as the first line of defense against harmful pathogens. One of the primary functions of this system is the emotion of disgust. It compels individuals to adopt socially conservative attitudes to avoid people and stimuli that could infect the individual with an unwanted disease. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a unique opportunity to further examine these relationships. The purpose of the current research is to explore how social conservatism interacts with the behavioral immune system in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data was collected by having participants complete an online survey. Social conservatism bolsters attitudes and behaviors in relation to COVID-19. Those who are more conservative are less anxious about the pandemic, less knowledgeable about COVID-19, and have more favorable views towards the U.S. government’s response to the pandemic.

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Keywords
Disgust, Right-wing authoritarianism, Left-wing authoritarianism, Behavioral immune system, COVID-19, Evolutionary psychology, Political psychology, Vaccination attitudes
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