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Kai Ruggeri, Friederike Stock, S. Alexander Haslam et al., Evaluating expectations from social and behavioral science about COVID-19 and lessons for the next pandemic, PsyArXiv (Oct. 10, 2022).

Abstract: Social and behavioral science research proliferated during the COVID-19 pandemic, reflecting the substantial increase in influence of behavioral science in public health and public policy more broadly. This review presents a comprehensive assessment of 742 scientific articles on human behavior during COVID-19. Two independent teams evaluated 19 substantive policy recommendations (“claims”) on potentially critical aspects of behaviors during the pandemic drawn from the most widely cited behavioral science papers on COVID-19. Teams were made up of original authors and an independent team, all of whom were blinded to other team member reviews throughout. Both teams found evidence in support of 16 of the claims; for two claims, teams found only null evidence; and for no claims did the teams find evidence of effects in the opposite direction. One claim had no evidence available to assess. Seemingly due to the risks of the pandemic, most studies were limited to surveys, highlighting a need for more investment in field research and behavioral validation studies. The strongest findings indicate interventions that combat misinformation and polarization, and to utilize effective forms of messaging that engage trusted leaders and emphasize positive social norms.