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Uniwersytet SWPS - Logo

Social Biases During Covid 19

Social Biases During Covid 19

SWPS University’s distinguished psychologists, Professor Dariusz Dolinski and Professor Wojciech Kulesza, have conducted a comprehensive analysis of social behavior intensified by the Covid-19 pandemic. They explored how human minds construct a distorted reality, leaning towards an optimism bias. Additionally, they studied the consequences of such unrealistic optimism in a threatening situation. They present the findings in their book, “Social Biases During Covid-19,” which is now available for free download.

Cognitive illusions during Covid-19

In a world where pandemics have ceased to be strictly a medical problem and are evolving into a complex social challenge, Professors Dariusz Doliński and Wojciech Kulesza from the Institute of Psychology at SWPS University, have studied the phenomenon of unrealistic optimism within the context of epidemic risk.

Unrealistic optimism manifests as the human tendency to construct a reality where the likelihood of positive events is overestimated, and the risks of encountering negative phenomena are underestimated. An international team of researchers, led by our psychologists, has carefully examined the consequences this behavior may have during a global health crisis. Their research not only documents how individuals navigated the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic but also sheds light on the reasons why some people follow medical advice in the face of danger, while others veer in the opposite direction.

Professors Doliński and Kulesza present their findings in the book, Social Biases During Covid-19: Managing the Anxiety of Uncertainty, published by Springer Nature. They discuss the phenomenon of crafting illusions of reality, explore the correlation between these illusions and health-seeking behavior, and suggest methods to mitigate unrealistic optimism. Special emphasis is placed on the significant role of mass media in shaping perceptions. Moreover, the book delves into the non-medical consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this timely and important book, Kulesza and Dolinski document the many crises that humanity faces today and show how these challenges are magnified by the cognitive biases inherent in human nature. They argue that awareness of these biases does not doom us to succumb to dysfunctional behavior, but rather provides the knowledge we need to meet the challenges of living in a precarious world.

Professor Robin R. Vallacher, Florida Atlantic University, USA
Review published on the Springer Link website

The book is available in open access and can be downloaded from the publisher's website

About the authors

Dariusz Doliński
Dariusz Doliński
Professor

Professor Dariusz Doliński is a prominent Polish social psychologist. He specializes in social behavioral psychology, psychology of emotions and motivation. He researches techniques of social influence, mechanisms of surrendering to external pressure, and social manipulation. He is also interested in psychological aspects of advertising and marketing. He was a Principal Investigator in numerous research projects and developed several theories in the field of social psychology, especially on consumer behavior and validation of influencing techniques.

Wojciech Kulesza
Wojciech Kulesza
Ph.D. / Associate Professor

Professor Kulesza is a social psychologist. He researches the phenomena of mimicry and mirroring in human behavior, unrealistic optimism (the belief that someone is less vulnerable than everyone else around them), and medical misinformation. He authored the book Efekt kameleona. Psychologia naśladownictwa [A Chameleon Effect. The Psychology of Mimicry] (2016), which analyzes the phenomenon of mimicry and presents a balance of gains and losses resulting from mirroring. He publishes in Polish and international journals. Moreover, he often writes popular science articles for Polish publications, such as a daily Gazeta Wyborcza and a weekly magazine Polityka.

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