Psychological context of unfounded information and beliefs related to the COVID-19 pandemic


Duration of the project:
2021 - 2025

Principal investigator:
Prof. Mgr. Peter Halama, PhD.

List of scientific co-workers:
Dr. Magdalena Adamus, PhD.
PhDr. Eva Ballová Mikušková, PhD.
doc. PaedDr. Vladimíra Čavojová, PhD.
Mgr. Jakub Šrol, PhD.
Mgr. Jakub Lieskovský
Mgr. Ing. Peter Teličák
The project is based on the assumption that pandemic of COVID-19 is not only a medical problem, but it has a negative effect on a broad range of social and psychological phenomena. This impact lasts longer than pandemic itself and continues for a long time after pandemic ends. The project focuses on the negative consequences of a pandemic on unfounded beliefs (conspiracies, hoaxes, fake news), trust in institutions, health-related and financial behaviour, and negative social attitudes, such as discrimination or prejudices. The project has several objectives. First of all, it aims to provide an empirical overview of most common unfounded beliefs (e.g. conspiracies, hoaxes, fake news) and maladaptive behaviour related to the pandemic. It also aims to identify the most vulnerable groups of people according to demographic and personality/cognitive criteria, who are of higher risk to experience a maladaptive psychosocial response to the pandemic. Moreover, the project will experimentally evaluate how specific presentation of the COVID-19 related information can affect the ability of people to distinguish between real and fake messages and their acceptance of maladaptive beliefs about COVID- 19. The project applies short-term longitudinal methodology with three waves of data collection including self-report measures and experimental manipulations to establish causal inference between the variables. The results will provide a deeper understanding of the social-psychological consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in a longitudinal perspective, and they will be a valuable source of knowledge for institutional strategies and public policies aiming to eliminate harmful impacts of negative events on individuals.

Kľúčové slová:
COVID-19, personality factors, social consequences, debiasing

Psychological context of unfounded information and beliefs related to
the COVID-19 pandemic