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Robb Willer's research on COVID-19 covered in Science magazine

Photo of signs with messages about COVID-19

Photo credit: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Apr 16 2020

Crushing coronavirus means ‘breaking the habits of a lifetime.’ Behavior scientists have some tips

With no vaccine or medication to cope with the novel coronavirus, people around the world have sought—or been ordered to seek—protection by changing the way they act in ways large and small, from their washing hands more frequently to avoiding almost all physical contact. Now, government and industry leaders are turning to behavioral scientists for advice on how to persuade their citizens and workers to abide by such dramatic changes.

To beat the pandemic, we need “a more rapid change of behavior than I can think of in recent human history,” says Robb Willer, a sociologist at Stanford University. He recently helped recruit more than 40 top behavioral scientists to summarize their field’s research on how to steer people into certain actions and how it might aid the response to the pandemic.

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