Second-year Master’s student, Joey Rhodes, recently presented updates on his Master’s thesis titled Understanding cultural differences in behavior during a global pandemic. Based on the current climate of the COVID-19 pandemic and previous research on cultural values, he aims to examine the differences in precautionary behavior between those who identify as either more collectivistic or individualistic. Joey also mentioned using this research to understand the best methods of promoting precautionary behavior among different cultural populations. Findings may also shed light on the possible adverse effects of social distancing on depression and suicidal idealization.
The online survey created for the study, which includes various measures on self-perceived independence, interpersonal values, individualism and collectivism, and dichotomous thinking, has been used to collect data from both American and Japanese samples. Joey is currently working on preliminary data analysis for the American sample and plans on testing his hypotheses soon with both samples. An implication of the current study could be a newfound insight into the individual priorities of those from different cultural backgrounds during a global pandemic and how that influences their actions under the COVID-19. The current study could also inspire research on the role of precautionary and prosocial behaviors beyond the scope of a pandemic to see how our cultural identities influence our interactions with others on a daily basis. Great work, Joey, we are excited to hear more!