Global Consciousness Predicts Behavioral Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Empirical Evidence From 35 Cultures

Sylvia Xiaohua Chen, Jacky C.K. Ng, Bryant P.H. Hui, Algae K.Y. Au, Ben C.P. Lam, Wesley C.H. Wu, Ngai Pun, Peter Beattie, Christian Welzel, James H. Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


COVID-19 has drastically changed human behaviors and posed a threat to globalism by spurring a resurgence of nationalism. Promoting prosocial behavior within and across borders is of paramount importance for global cooperation to combat pandemics. To examine both self-report and actual prosocial behavior, we conducted the first empirical test of global consciousness theory in a multinational study of 35 cultures (N = 18,171 community adults stratified by age, gender, and region of residence). Global consciousness encompassed cosmopolitan orientation, identification with all humanity, and multicultural acquisition, whereas national consciousness reflected ethnic protection. Both global consciousness and national consciousness positively predicted perceived risk of coronavirus and concern about coronavirus, after controlling for interdependent self-construal. While global consciousness positively predicted prosocial behavior in response to COVID-19, national consciousness positively predicted defensive behavior. These findings shed light on overcoming national parochialism and provide a theoretical framework for the study of global unity and cooperation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • COVID-19
  • global consciousness
  • national consciousness
  • prosocial behavior
  • xenophobia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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