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Exploring the Mind | America’s fatal failure: Why have we done so poorly in coping with COVID-19? on AADL.TV


Friday January 29, 2021: 7:00pm to 8:30pm  Add to Calendar /   Add to Google Calendar




Join Dr. Shinobu Kitayama of the University of Michigan's Department of Psychology for a presentation on his research into our country's vulnerability in the face of a global pandemic.

Over the last year, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disrupted every aspect of society worldwide. However, the United States (U.S.) fared exceptionally poorly. Although it accounts for only 4.25% of the world population, it has suffered approximately 20% of the total infections and deaths by COVID-19. The failure of this magnitude may come as both surprising and alarming for the world’s largest economy. We must take this alarm seriously since even more, and potentially more contagious or lethal, wild animal origin diseases, called zoonotic diseases, may likely cause havoc on human civilizations in the years to come. It is urgent to critically examine why and how the U.S.’s fatal failure in its response to COVID-19 has come about. While this failure could be due, in part, to the lack of political leadership during the Trump era, the issue may be much deeper and more systemic. To explore such a possibility, we have examined COVID-19-related fatalities in different countries and different U.S. cities. I will supplement this analysis with the current social and cultural psychological evidence to conclude that some historical, social structural, cultural, and psychological factors have converged to make the country especially vulnerable to infectious diseases, including COVID-19. 

Shinobu Kitayama is the Robert B. Zajonc Collegiate Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. Originally from Japan, he taught at the University of Oregon and Kyoto University before joining the Michigan faculty in 2003. He studies cultural variations in mental processes. Currently, he is the president of the Association for Psychological Science, the premier society for psychological science. He also is the editor in chief of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Attitudes and Social Cognition. He is a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology Scientific Impact Award, the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Career Contribution Award. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

This program is in partnership with the University of Michigan Department of Psychology.

This video premieres on AADL.TV.