With this pandemic, people are facing something they’ve never seen before, and that’s messing with how we process information and assess risk.
Research shows that people often base behaviors on what they’ve recently seen or experienced. And that has been a very mixed bag in this pandemic. Slow deployment of testing and mixed messaging further undercut a key decision making tool: consistent advice from trusted sources.
For their part, institutions have suffered from “optimism bias”—seeing the future as rosier than it really is—which appears to have stymied responses early in the pandemic. Just look at America’s slow reaction to Wuhan’s lockdown.
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