Club EvMed: The behavioral immune system and fear of COVID-19 - Shared screen with speaker view
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Oscar R. Sánchez
Is it true that health professionals tend to commit suicide more frequently and does this have to do with this issue?
More frequently under cover or in general?
Under covid* conditions?
The risk of suicide among physicians is higher than the general population
what is the practical implication of psychological aspect in a country like India where maintaining social distancing and maintaining a containment zone is proving to be an impossible task
Diving deeper on the physician suicide question, female physicians have a much higher rate whereas male physicians are about the same as the general population. See BMJ article by Roger Dobson.
@natasha thank you for clarification
It would be really interesting to measure those traits and link them with the likelihood of infection or mortality from COVID-19. I predict that this psychological profile - anxiety/fear about COVID-19 - will result in protection from infection and death in the pandemic
Indeed; OCD cleaning behaviours and neuroticism will assumedly associate with protection against infection
true but don't you think it adding more to the panic and making people uncomfortable and inhuman to some extent?
Over-estimating the risk of infection, if this leads to cautious behavior, may indeed be ‘adaptive’
What’s ‘adaptive’ for an individual may not be desirable for the ‘population’… There is, however, an interesting group selection experiment going on with respect to how different countries (and states) respond to the pandemic
True! This is a giant natural experiment, I imagine to be referred back to for many years (like the dutch hunger winter)
Any evidence of the evolution of the opposite reaction driven by sexual selection? “Look at me, I’m not disgusted, I’m healthy?”
What is remarkable to me is how health care providers in ordinary circumstances have down-regulated behavioral immune system sensitivity. Just a few weeks ago, I saw unmasked RNs around flu-positive coughing patients, sick people coming to work, etc.
I like your idea - Ron.
Habituation is a powerful process. What’s leading to perhaps a wise initial over-reaction is not knowing precisely either the R0 or the mortality rate…and strong messages that R0 might be higher than the flu, as is the mortality rate…so it should lead to a strong response...
I think I could be one of those people you see being a doctor myself but most of the times the reason is not neglect it's just that after pulling 48hrs shift it kinda gets difficult to stick to rules as your brain is about to snap, of course not an excuse to give its a fact
On individual differences, some young high anxiety much more fearful
It’s not just individual variation in fear, it’s individual variation in context—if you MUST work, you’re going to go out…and then potentially either habituate to safe practices or sensitize and get anxiety disorders....
Also what about general risk-taking being related?
Also having one high anxiety individual in a household could protect the whole household
Or cause a divorce! :-)
conspiracy thinking as an evolved cognitive response, perhaps?
I can understand a mechanism to detect the risk and respond by moving away from it, but why signal to others? Who are these others, kin and / or strangers? Is there altruism in this signal?
That is what I want to talk about next week - the idea that it is the immune system which is responsible for morbidity and mortality in COVID
Enjoying this robust discussion
Given that our current understanding of disease is pretty recent in evolutionary terms, should we expect that "rational" understandings of a particular disease will have limited effects on behaviour?
I’m feeling there is not much talk of evolution in the chat!
also what if people with anxiety disorders and phobias are considered fittest in the process and we end up having a future with anxious people
I've observed some individuals who are resistant to modifying their behavior for this virus because they have an automatic resistance to authority, even when they know the importance.
Thanks Charlie and Meredith and Alfonso
Thanks all, another great session!
Thanks Alfonso, thanks all
Thanks for this!