Conference / Symposium

How Social Science Advances Our Understanding of Pandemics

Sponsored by Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University in partnership with CIFAR, the Pandemic Action Network, the Public Policy Forum, SAGE Publishing, and Stanford PACS


Wednesday, June 23, 2021
1:00 pm – 2:15 pm
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650 736-0100

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Event Details:

This is episode 16 in the CASBS series Social Science for a World in Crisis. Learn more about the series here.

Panelists: Robb Willer (Stanford, CASBS fellow 2012-13-2020-21), Peter Loewen (CASBS fellow, 2018-19), Adrian Raftery (CASBS fellow, 2017-18), Prerna Singh (CASBS fellow, 2020-21)
Moderator: Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic

Scientific research, innovation, and evidence have contributed to COVID-19 mitigation and response. As parts of the globe emerge from a second year of life under pandemic, to what extent have social and behavioral science insights illuminated our understanding of the alignment between human behavior and the recommendations of epidemiologists and public health experts? What gaps remain in our data and knowledge? 

Pandemics have no respect for borders. Yet borders – both at national and sub-national levels – play an undeniable role in determining population vulnerability and resilience in the face of infectious disease. In the United States, almost all aspects of the COVID pandemic have been polarized. Why? How can cross-national and historical analyses inform our perspective of how citizens learn from and engage with scientists, experts, and each other? What do we know, and what remains unsettled, regarding social and cultural influences on science communication, decision making under uncertainty, leadership, governance, the psychological burdens of stress and anxiety, the friction between individual and collective interests, and behavior more generally? Join Peter Loewen, Adrian Raftery, Prerna Singh, and Robb Willer in conversation with Alexis Madrigal as they consider such questions and appraise the state of the art in social and behavioral science research, essential if we intend to prepare for and respond to future pandemics more effectively.

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