Collective Behaviour - Fall Seminar Series 2020

COVID Norms: Monitoring and Analyzing Behavior

Sarah Geber, University of Zurich

Sarah Geber is a Senior Research and Teaching Associate at the Institute for Communication Studies and Media Research in the University of Zurich. Her research interests lie in the areas of media use and impact research, health communication and political communication, whereby her questions are always oriented towards the social dimension of individual behavior. She is currently concerned with social-normative influences on media usage and risk behavior as well as empirical approaches that make it possible to depict this social dimension, such as social network and multi-level analysis.

COVID Norms: Monitoring and Analyzing Behavior

Given the democratic, enlightened, and self-reliant principle of Western democracies, the only legitimate (and thus feasible) strategy for a normalization of public life and the economy in the current situation is the establishment of preventive behavior norms. Such norms are the precondition for population-wide compliance with preventive measures without legal interventions. In my talk, I will present the project “Covid-Norms” that proposes a normative approach to disease prevention to combat Covid-19. The project’s overarching aim is to gain a profound understanding of the dynamics of norm development and the role of different forms of communication in this regard. Over the course of two years (September 2020 - August 2022), it will combine survey data of the Swiss population and content analysis data of the public discourse in the media to investigate the development of norms on various Covid-19 preventive behaviors, such as the use of the SwissCovid app, wearing face masks, and social distancing. The project builds on a close collaboration with the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) to rapidly translate the scientific insights into evidence-based, concrete guidance for disease prevention during the Covid-19 crises. It is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation within the National Research Program «Covid-19»

Datum: 2020-11-05