Social psychologists grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic: How are we in Asia distinctive?

Michael Harris Bond

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


We are social psychologists, variously enmeshed in the havoc occasioned by the last year and beyond that Covid-19 has wrought to the world we each had come to know, to understand, and manage. Malignant, stealthy, elusive, invisible, and highly infectious, this disease rides on the back of normal human sociality, impacting the lives of all humanity, whether directly or indirectly. We each have adapted and continue to adapt to whatever requirements for change we confront in our local and national communities and do so with widely varying psychological effects—personal, interpersonal, and occupational.

Societal changes slowly evolve as local containment strategies show variable and sometimes conflicting results, leading public health planners and political authorities to deliver inconsistent guidance over time, confusing and unsettling citizens. Uncertainty about the likely course of the pandemic and its impact on our lives frustrates us, the public, sometimes immobilizing, puzzling, and depressing us. What does our and humanity’s future hold? We might well wonder along with Yeats in his poem, Sailing to Byzantium, “What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

The pandemic that the SARS-COV-2 virus has unleashed in its wake has impacted all our lives, disrupting long established habits and reorganizing our work routines and priorities professionally. As practicing social psychologists, how shall we respond, particularly those of us in Asia? Does our geographical-cultural positioning provide us with distinctive perspectives and emic conceptualizations that we can usefully exploit and share with our colleagues locked into their social realities elsewhere?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-22
Number of pages5
JournalAsian Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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