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Abstract

Objective. This study examines how people socially represent the COVID-19 pandemic in the early stage of the health crisis in Europe. Specifically, this research analyses the days before and immediately after the declaration of the state of emergency in Spain, which resulted in the entire population being placed in lockdown. Design. For this purpose, we used the Grid Elaboration Method for free association elicited by the word “coronavirus”. This exercise was completed by 1037 people from Spain. Main Outcome Measures. Responses were analysed using Iramuteq software for lexical analysis. Results. Before the state of emergency and lockdown, there was a repeat of many of the emotional and cognitive patterns seen in previous pandemics such us upward and downward blaming or feelings of anger and emotional fatigue. However, outward blaming patterns towards peers also emerged. Moreover, in the period following lockdown, we noted the emergence of new representations and emotions such as paralyzing distrust or resilience. Similarity analysis revealed that the “fear of pandemic” hides a wide variety of emotions. Conclusion. Understanding the blaming and fear processes that are linked to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain offers us practical implications for coping with the challenge of this new crisis.

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... Similarly to other pandemics, blaming others and employing stigmas have started to manifest outside people's regular groups of belonging [4], while scapegoating and discrimination have emerged [3]. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the perceived severity of the disease has been associated with representations of the habits of the Chinese, the evil elite and the irresponsible "other" [11], and blaming models among colleagues have emerged [12]. ...
... COVID-19 has significantly affected psycho-social welfare and people's everyday life [1,34,47,57,58]. It has generated anger, paralyzing distrust and emotional tiredness [12]. It has caused social disruption and negative emotions [59], sadness, confusion [6], depression, loss of hope [2], worries and distress [34], and mostly anxiety and fear [3,6,14,19,39,47,56], even paranoia, stigmatization and xenophobia [3]. ...
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... While trust in science remains relatively high and stable, a decline of trust in authorities and the government can already be observed (Betsch, 2021). Although our model focused on distrusting beliefs in science and scientists, an increase in distrust concerning authorities is likely to similarly lead to a reduction of compliance with protective measures on the individual level (Idoiaga Mondragon et al., 2021;Michie et al., 2020). ...
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In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, non-pharmaceutical protective measures taken by individuals remain pivotal. This study aims to explore what motivates individuals to engage in such measures. Based on existing empirical findings as well as prominent behavioural theories, a partial least squares structural equation model (PLS-SEM) of predictors for pandemic protective behaviour was estimated using a representative German sample (n=437). The study was preregistered at OSF. The model explains 69% of the variance for behavioural intention, which is strongly correlated with behaviour (ρ=0.84). The most influential predictor for protective behaviour is its perceived efficacy, followed by normative beliefs and perceptions about costs for protective behaviour. Distrusting beliefs in science and scientists negatively predicted response perceptions and were also strongly and negatively correlated with behaviour. Knowledge about COVID-19 was weakly linked with perceived response efficacy, as well as with behaviour. These findings suggest that communication strategies surrounding COVID-19 should emphasise the efficacy of responses and foster a sense of responsibility.
... As the authors suggested, "this method is based on the premise that words are not independent of each other, but reflect underlying themes", and "all discourse is expressed from a set of words that constitute units of meaning independently of their syntactic construction" ( [46], p. 5). In addition, other research used this approach when exploring the COVID-19 social representations in children and adolescents [47][48][49]. ...
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The present research investigated children and adolescents’ explicit and spontaneous representation of the COVID-19 pandemic and their related emotions, cognitions, and coping strategies. We explored the self-reported protective factors and coping mechanisms, in addition to similar attributional emotional experiences, i.e., the ways participants evaluated others’ pandemic experiences. Our sample consisted of 155 children and adolescents aged 10 to 13 (M = 10.70, SD = 0.85, 56.1% females). We designed a 12-item survey and analyzed our data using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Our findings suggested that most children and adolescents associated masks with the thought of the novel coronavirus, and the most frequently associated emotion was sadness (45.2%), followed by fear (17.4%). Generally, participants reported a medium level of perceived adverse effects of the pandemic, mainly because their regular physical school classes moved to the online setting. We also found a significant association between children’s self-reported levels of harmful effects of the pandemic and perceived adverse effects on their families. Most participants expressed their dissatisfaction concerning online school classes, primarily due to poor online interaction. In our sample, the children and adolescents reported positive thoughts and family relationships as their primary coping mechanisms during the pandemic, suggesting similar perceived coping mechanisms in the others around them. Finally, more than half of the participants considered that the COVID-19 pandemic had no positive effects, while 40% considered the increased time spent with their families the primary positive consequences following the COVID-19 health crisis. Results are discussed regarding their implications concerning healthcare, social, and educational policies.
... The Reinert method using Iramuteq software for lexical analysis (Reinert, 1983(Reinert, , 1990) was employed to analyse the text corpus. The researchers that have used the Reinert method in the field of social representations (Idoiaga & Belasko Txertudi, 2019;Idoiaga et al., 2021;Kalampalikis, 2005;Klein & Licata, 2003;Lahlou, 2001) have empirically demonstrated the capacity of this method to analyse these through symmetries created between the lexical world and the shared representations. Moreover, Iramuteq software eliminates problems of reliability and validity in text analysis (Klein & Licata, 2003), and it makes it easier to account for the specificity of the representations brought to light (Aubert-Lotarski & Capdevielle-Mougnibas, 2002). ...
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This study aims to analyse 1002 children's and adolescent's reasons for going to school alone or accompanied and to explore how parents influence their choice. The findings revealed that children who could go to school alone feel that their parents trust them more. Moreover, children who live close to school are more likely to commute autonomously and those who do so feel their environment is safer. Finally, there are significant gender differences in autonomous travel to school, largely due to parental influence. In conclusion, there is a real need to work with children and families to develop targeted interventions to support the normalisation of children's autonomous walking and to address the fears of parents.
... While trust in science remains relatively high and stable, a decline of trust in authorities and the government can already be observed (Betsch, 2021). Although our model focused on distrusting beliefs in science and scientist, an increase in distrust concerning authorities is likely to similarly lead to a reduction of compliance with protective measures on the individual level (Michie et al., 2020;Idoiaga Mondragon et al., 2021). ...
Preprint
In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, non-pharmaceutical protective measures taken by individuals remain pivotal. Based on existing empirical findings as well as prominent behavioural theories, a partial least squares structural equation model (PLS-SEM) of predictors for pandemic protective behaviour was estimated using a representative German sample (n = 437). The study was preregistered at OSF. The model explains 69% of the variance for behavioural intention, which is strongly correlated with behaviour (rho= .84). The most influential predictor for protective behaviour is its perceived efficacy, followed by normative beliefs and perceptions about costs for protective behaviour. Distrusting beliefs in science and scientists negatively predicted response perceptions and were also strongly and negatively correlated with behaviour. Knowledge about COVID-19 was weakly linked with perceived response efficacy, as well as with behaviour. These findings suggest that communication strategies surrounding COVID-19 should emphasise the efficacy of responses and foster a sense of responsibility.
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Fear, which can be expressed innately or after conditioning, is triggered when a danger or a stimulus predicting immediate danger is perceived. Its role is to prepare the body to face this danger. However, dysfunction in fear processing can lead to psychiatric disorders in which fear outweighs the danger or possibility of harm. Although recognized as highly debilitating, pathological fear remains insufficiently treated, indicating the importance of research on fear processing. The neurobiological basis of normal and pathological fear reactions is reviewed in this article. Innate and learned fear mechanisms, particularly those involving the amygdala, are considered. These fear mechanisms are also distinguished in specific phobias, which can indeed be nonexperiential (implicating innate, learning-independent mechanisms) or experiential (implicating learning-dependent mechanisms). Poor habituation and poor extinction are presented as dysfunctional mechanisms contributing to persistence of nonexperiential and experiential phobias, respectively.
Article
This study examines how Ebola is transformed from purely scientific knowledge to public’s thinking through media communication, using Spain as a case study. To do so, this research carried out a lexical analysis in both classic media communication and social network communication (Twitter). The results showed that traditional news used a reified discourse pattern prescribing the discourse of scientists and authorities. Tweets, in contrast, adhered to a consensual pattern of discourse, characterized by heterogeneity of representation and intensive symbolic ideas. The implications of this familiarization of knowledge about science via media communication and the effect of social networks on how we should face future epidemics are considered.
Book
American monetary policy is formulated by the Federal Reserve and overseen by Congress. Both policy making and oversight are deliberative processes, although the effect of this deliberation has been difficult to quantify. In this book, Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey provides a systematic examination of deliberation on monetary policy from 1976 to 2008 by the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee (FOMC) and House and Senate banking committees. Her innovative account employs automated textual analysis software to study the verbatim transcripts of FOMC meetings and congressional hearings; these empirical data are supplemented and supported by in-depth interviews with participants in these deliberations. The automated textual analysis measures the characteristic words, phrases, and arguments of committee members; the interviews offer a way to gauge the extent to which the empirical findings accord with the participants’ personal experiences. Analyzing why and under what conditions deliberation matters for monetary policy, the author identifies several strategies of persuasion used by FOMC members, including Paul Volcker’s emphasis on policy credibility and efforts to influence economic expectations. Members of Congress, however, constrained by political considerations, show a relative passivity on the details of monetary policy. .
Article
This study examined the collective image of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, to understand how people incorporate this epidemic in their everyday thinking. A free association exercise elicited by Ebola was answered by 294 people from Spain and the content was analysed using Alceste software. First, results showed that Ebola was represented as inherently African. Second, it was also depicted as a global threat creating fear. People also felt anger, and they blamed political authorities and the mass media for the failure to manage this crisis. Finally, this research underlines the importance of the social representations to understand how current outbreaks are cognitively represented and emotionally faced as a key factor to appropriately manage future epidemics.
Article
Social Motivation, Justice, and the Moral Emotions proposes an attribution theory of interpersonal or social motivation that distinguishes between the role of thinking and feeling in determining action. The place of this theory within the larger fields of motivation and attributional analyses is explored. It features new thoughts concerning social motivation on such topics as help giving, aggression, achievement evaluation, compliance to commit a transgression, as well as new contributions to the understanding of social justice. Included also is material on moral emotions, with discussions of admiration, contempt, envy, gratitude, and other affects not considered in Professor Weiner's prior work. The text also contains previously unexamined topics regarding social inferences of arrogance and modesty. Divided into five chapters, this book: * considers the logical development and structure of a proposed theory of social motivation and justice; * reviews meta-analytic tests of the theory within the contexts of help giving and aggression and examines issues related to cultural and individual differences; * focuses on moral emotions including an analysis of admiration, envy, gratitude, jealousy, scorn, and others; * discusses conditions where reward decreases motivation while punishment augments strivings; and * provides applications that are beneficial in the classroom, in therapy, and in training programs.This book appeals to practicing and research psychologists and advanced students in social, educational, personality, political/legal, health, and clinical psychology. It will also serve as a supplement in courses on motivational psychology, emotion and motivation, altruism and/or pro-social behavior, aggression, social judgment, and morality. Also included is the raw material for 13 experiments relating to core predictions of the proposed attribution theory. © 2006 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.
Book
In the 1970s it seemed infectious diseases had been conquered, but today global epidemics seem to pose a new, more sinister, threat. This fascinating study explores these new infectious diseases, such as Swine Flu, SARS and AIDS, and the re-emergence of old threats, and discusses their role in society.
Book
La première édition de La psychanalyse, son image et son public était une thèse. Cette seconde édition est, je l’espère, un livre. De l’une à l’outre j’ai modifié le style, le mode d’exposition des faits et des idées, éliminé des indications techniques et théoriques qui n’intéressaient qu’un cercle restreint de spécialistes ou qui sont devenues monnaie courante. Ce travail de réécriture correspond, bien entendu, aussi à une évolution personnelle et intellectuelle vis-à-vis des rites d’initiation universitaire et de la science. Lors de sa parution, la thèse a provoqué un malaise. Des psychanalystes surtout ont vu d’un mauvaise œil la tentative de prendre la psychanalyse comme objet quelconque d’étude et de la situer dans la société. 2 J’ai été frappé alors, et je le suis toujours, par le fait que les détenteurs d’un savoir, scientifique ou non, croient avoir le droit de tout étudier — et en définitive de tout juger — mais estiment inutile, voire pernicieux, de rendre compte des déterminismes dont ils sont le lieu, des effets qu’ils produisent, bref d’être étudiés à leur tour et de regarder le miroir qu’on leur tend en conséquence. Ils y voient une immixtion intolérable dans leurs propres affaires, une profanation de leur savoir — veut-on qu’il reste sacré ? — et réagissent, suivant leur tempérament, avec mépris ou mauvaise humeur. Ceci est vrai de la plupart des scientifiques, ceci est même vrai des marxistes. C’est pourquoi nous n’avons pas de sociologie de la science, ni du marxisme, ni de la psychanalyse. Je me suis cependant aperçu qu’en dix ans, du moins en ce qui concerne la psychanalyse et les psychanalystes, les attitudes ont beaucoup changé dans un sens favorable à un travail tel que celui-ci. 3 Au centre de ce livre est le phénomène des représentations sociales. Depuis la première édition, de nombreuses études tant de terrain que de laboratoire lui ont été consacrées. Je pense notamment à celles de Chombart de Lauwe, Hertzlich, Jodelet, Kaës d’un côté et à celles d’Abric, Codol, Flament, Henry, Pêcheux, Poitou de l’autre. Elles ont permis de mieux saisir sa généralité et de mieux comprendre son rôle dans la communication et la genèse des comportements sociaux. Mon ambition était cependant plus vaste. Je voulais redéfinir les problèmes et les concepts de la psychologie sociale à partir de ce phénomène, en insistant sur sa fonction symbolique et son pouvoir de construction du réel. La tradition behavioriste, le fait que la psychologie sociale se soit bornée à étudier l’individu, le petit groupe, les relations informelles, ont constitué et continuent à constituer un obstacle à cet égard. Une philosophie positiviste qui n’accorde d’importance qu’aux prédictions vérifiables par l’expérience et aux phénomènes directement observables s’ajoute à la liste des obstacles. 4 Cette tradition et cette philosophie empêchent, à mon avis, le développement de la psychologie sociale au-delà des limites qui sont les dermes aujourd’hui. Quand on s’en rendra compte et que l’on osera franchir ces limites, les représentations sociales, j’en suis convaincu, prendront dans cette science la place qui est la leur. En outre, elles seront un facteur de renouvellement des problèmes et clés concepts de la philosophie qui doit sous-tendre le travail scientifique. Là encore, les jeux ne sont pas faits. Au contraire ils sont à refaire et la crise que traverse la psychologie sociale le montre à l’évidence. 5 Il y va de l’intérêt de bien d’autres domaines de recherche concernant la littérature, l’art, les mythes, les idéologies et le langage. Enfermés dans des cadres dépassés, prisonniers de préjugés quant au pecking order des sciences, les chercheurs dans ces domaines se privent des moyens que, dans son état actuel, la psychologie sociale met à leur disposition. En France notamment ils se réclament, sous l’emprise du structuralisme, d’une orthodoxie saussurienne, tout en oubliant ce que Ferdinand de Saussure a entrevu avec précision : « La langue est un système de signes exprimant des idées, et, par là, comparable à récriture, à l’alphabet des sourds-muets, aux rites symboliques, aux formes de politesse, aux signaux militaires, etc. Elle rat seulement le plus important de ces systèmes. On peut donc concevoir une science qui étudie la vie des signes au sein de la vie sociale ; elle formerait une partie de la psychologie sociale et par conséquent de la psychologie générale ; nous la nommerons sémiologie (du grec semeïon, « signe »). Elle nous apprendrait en quoi consistent les signes, quelles lois les régissent. » Mais le lecteur n’a pas à se soucier de ce passé, de cet état de la science, des projets flottant autour du livre. Pas plus que je ne m’en soucie. En faisant l’étude d’abord, en lui donnant forme ensuite, je me suis enrichi et j’ai eu du plaisir. Tout ce que je souhaite c’est que, en lisant ce livre, il lui arrive la même chose.
Chapter
[Jayaram-STS 901 Fall 2006] The article reviews the main research perspectives that have been developed in PUS. The traditional approach to PUS has been to problematize the public and the major focus was on asking what was wrong with public's understanding of sciece. On the part of scientists, the focus was on asking why scientists don't communicate well with the public. In contrast, the constructivist view takes an approach inspired by SSK, where the questions asked relate to how people experience and define 'science' in social life. It also studies how scientific knowledge underlies taken-for granted norms and social structures and its influence on public interaction with science. The major research approaches to PUS have been - 1) Survey Research 2) Mental Models and Cognitive Approaches and 3) Constructivist, Social and Anthropological Research. The article points out the deficiencies of the two methods in that they attempt to define a static context-independent notion of science, public and public understanding of science. It also highlights the importance of trust, credibility and relevance to studies in PUS.
Chapter
Moscovici, S. (1984). The phenomenon of social representations. In R. Farr & S. Moscovici (Eds.), Social representations (pp. 3-69). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Article
The idea of risk has recently risen to prominence in political debate and in matters of public policy. Cognitive psychology treats decision-making as a private personal act but in real life, dangers are presented in standardized forms which pre-code the individual's choices. This collection follows on from the programme for studying risk and blame that was implied in the book "Purity and Danger". The first six essays in this book argue that any analysis of risk perception that ignores cultural and political bias is worthless. For the sake of a mistaken idea of objectivity, research on risk perception tries to avoid politics, the idea of nature is inherently politicized. The next five essays range over questions in cultural theory. A culture is viewed as a way of life which standardizes concepts and values. It is held steady by the institutions in which it is articulated. Questions of autonomy, credibility and gullibility, the social origins of wants, and the recognition of distinctive thought styles are at present only beginning to be treated systematically in a framework. This book should be of interest to undergraduates, postgraduates and academics of social anthropology, philosophy, political and cultural theory.
Article
ALCESTE - A Methodology of Textual Data Analysis and an Application: Aurélia by Gérard de Nerval. Beginning with a cross-tabulation with different all sentence fragments in rows and a selected vocabulary in columns for a specific corpus, the author presents: the methodology, including principle concepts and objectives of this form of analysis; the technique, the ALCESTE computer program of automatic classification based on resemblance or dissimilarity: and an application, the analysis of Gérard de Nerval's text Aurélia. The analysis distinguishes three types of fragments which are described and analyzed further.
Article
To understand the French public's response to the 2009 pandemic A/H1N1 influenza health threat a sequence analysis framework has been employed mobilising different theoretical strands such as innovations diffusion theory, surprise theory and social representation theory. These tend to suggest that disease episodes, public health policy and the public's response should be considered within a larger socio-cognitive frame incorporating representations anchored by prior disease episodes and campaigns. It is suggested in this article that the public's response was greatly influenced by the pervasive anchoring of the social representations of the pandemic threat to the 1918 Spanish flu in the lay and scientific media. These representations were eventually seen not to match the reality of the disease and consequently the French public did not panic during the 2009 pandemic. This hypothesis has been tested empirically by examining retrospective media, bibliographical data and an analysis of risk perception carried out through three cross-sectional studies prior to and during the pandemic episode and one month after the launch of the vaccination campaign. These findings suggest that alarmist framings of health threats may be counterproductive since they may reduce the capacity of public health organisations to mobilise the public in the case of more serious emerging disease.
Article
The theory of social representations occupies a place apart in social psychology both by the problems it raises and the scale of the phenomena with which it deals. This provokes many a criticism and misunderstanding. Such a theory may not correspond with the model of social psychology as it is defined at present. One attempts however to show that it answers important social and scientific questions, in what it differs from the classical conception of collective representations and, from the very beginning, adopts a constructivist perspective which has spread in social psychology since. Several trends of research have confirmed its vision of the relations between social and cognitive phenomena, communication and thought. More detailed remarks aim at outlining the nature of social representations, their capacity to create information, their function which is to familiarize us with the strange, according to the categories of our culture. Going farther, one insists on the diversity of methodological approaches. If the experimental method is useful to understand how people should think, higher mental and social processes must be approached by different methods, including linguistic analysis and observation of how people think. No doubt, social representations have a relation with the more recent field of social cognition. But inasmuch as the former depend on content and context, i.e. subjectivity and sociability of people, they approach the phenomena differently from the latter. Referring to child psychology and anthropology, one can contend, despite appearances, that it is also a more scientific approach. There is however much to be learned from criticisms and there is still a long way to go before we arrive at a satisfactory theory of social thinking and communication.
Article
Using the framework of social representations theory--more precisely the concepts of anchoring and objectification--this article analyses the emotions on which the media reporting on climate change draws. Emotions are thereby regarded as discursive phenomena. A qualitative analysis of two series in Swedish media on climate change, one in a tabloid newspaper and one in public service television news, is presented showing how the verbal and visual representations are attached to emotions of fear, hope, guilt, compassion and nostalgia. It is further argued that emotional representations of climate change may on the one hand enhance public engagement in the issue, but on the other hand may draw attention away from climate change as the abstract, long-term phenomenon of a statistical character that it is.
Article
This study's interest relies on adolescents' social representations of unprotected sex, more precisely on the relationship between the attitude towards the preservative and the reason attribution for its non use. 1386 secondary school students took part in the study, in the Brazilian cities of Florianópolis, Itajaí and Balneário Camboriú. In order to verify reasons attributed by the students, we focused on the sample that had sexual experiences without using the condom during last year. Data was analyzed with software ALCESTE, which showed three different classes of explanations for the non use of the preservative: the moment of the intercourse (unpredictable and incontrollable), trust in the partner and the option of the contraceptive pill, instead of the preservatives, in avoiding pregnancy. The students' attitudes towards the preservative are less favourable among those who maintain sexual intercourse with known people. The results revealed two representations of AIDS: one of trust in the partner and another of the experience with sex and the preservative--the first one gives sense to the adolescents' experiences with known sexual partners and the second, with less known sexual partners.