“Extraverts and Conservatives are More Likely to Get COVID
The pandemic is largely the result of our evolved social psychology.
Darwin’s Subterranean World
Posted May 15, 2021
Personality Correlates of COVID-19 Infection Proclivity: Extraversion Kills
Vania Rolona, Glenn Geherb, Jennifer Linkb, Alexander Mackielb
Personality and Individual Differences
Available online 14 May 2021
“In light of the human behavioral element of COVID, my research team (a subset of The New Paltz Evolutionary Psychology Lab ) conducted a study to help us better understand the behavioral factors that underlie the spread of this virus—a virus that has turned all of our worlds upside down in so many ways.
Our study, recently published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences , explored various dispositional traits that might ultimately underlie whether people are prone toward getting the virus. The two main variables we focused on were extraversion and political conservatism.
An additional evolutionary perspective as to why and how extraversion might relate to COVID infection proclivity pertains the behavioral-system hijacking hypothesis (see Reiber et al., 2010). This idea, which is admittedly beyond the scope of our data, suggests that the coronavirus, which has known effects on the nervous system, may actually hijack behavior and temporarily make people relatively sociable so as to increase its spread across an increased number of human hosts.
Gollwitzer et al. (2020) found that people who live in relatively conservative areas (based on voting patterns) have been less likely to follow social-distancing guidelines relative to those living in areas where people are more likely to vote for liberal political candidates.
In light of this basic reasoning, we predicted that people who self-identify as conservative would be more likely to wind up becoming infected with the virus relative to those who self-identify as liberal.”