Seat belts and smoking rates show people eventually adopt healthy behaviors – but it can take time we don't have during a pandemic

Public health recommendations have always been a hard sell. Resistance to new behaviors – like the mask-wearing and social distancing advised during the COVID-19 pandemic – is part of human nature.

Randy P. Juhl, Dean Emeritus and Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh • conversation
Dec. 29, 2020 ~7 min

 public-health  covid-19  coronavirus  smoking  pandemic  science  statins  life-expectancy  human-behavior  health-behaviors  ideology  immunization  medical-advice

Prehistoric human footprints reveal a rare snapshot of ancient human group behavior

The footprints of over 20 different prehistoric people, pressed into volcanic ash thousands of years ago in Tanzania, show possible evidence for sexual division of labor in this ancient community.

Briana Pobiner, Research Scientist and Museum Educator, Smithsonian Institution • conversation
May 14, 2020 ~8 min

anthropology human-evolution archaeology paleontology human-behavior behavior tanzania paleoanthropology hominins prehistory

Your brain evolved to hoard supplies and shame others for doing the same

Faced with uncertain and anxious times, brains send out instructions to start stockpiling supplies – whether you're a person facing a pandemic, or a rodent prepping for a long winter.

Stephanie Preston, Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan • conversation
March 27, 2020 ~7 min

 brain  neuroscience  psychology  stress  human-behavior  shopping  public-shaming  animal-behavior  shame  tragedy-of-the-commons  hoarding  stockpiling

Americans disagree on how risky the coronavirus is, but most are changing their behavior anyway

Using a survey taken from March 10 – March 16, social scientists tried to untangle the complicated connection between feelings of vulnerability and behavior change in response to the coronavirus.

Daniel Bennett, Assistant Professor (Research) of Economics, University of Southern California • conversation
March 26, 2020 ~7 min

 covid-19  coronavirus  risk  social-psychology  communication  altruism  surveys  human-behavior