The COVID-19 pandemic represents a massive global health crisis. Because the crisis requires large-scale behavior change and places significant psychological burdens on individuals, insights from the social and behavioral sciences can be used to help align human behavior with the recommendations of epidemiologists and public health experts.
In this article from Nature, the authors discuss evidence from a selection of research topics relevant to pandemics, including work on navigating threats, social and cultural influences on behavior, science communication, moral decision-making, leadership, and stress and coping. In each section, they note the nature and quality of prior research, including uncertainty and unsettled issues. They identify several insights for effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight important gaps researchers should move quickly to fill in the coming weeks and months.