“Unliess or until a vaccine is developed, or we discover medicines to treat the virus, our means of controlling the spread of infection depend on behavioural changes and hence upon human psychology. … Indeed, all we can do to control the virus right now is get people to behave appropriately — to ‘do the right thing.’ … However, it is not enough to understand that we need psychology as a core part of efforts against COVID-19. It is also important to understand what sort of psychology helps or hinders in those efforts.”


So reads the introduction to a new book, part monograph and part edited volume, that examines the psychology surrounding the current pandemic and makes recommendations for how to do that right thing and with a reasonable hope of deploying the right sort of behavioral science. As the authors of Together Apart: The Psychology of COVID-19, wrote, “Starting from the premise that an effective response to the pandemic depends upon people coming together and supporting each other as members of a common community, the aim of this book is to use social identity theorising to provide a comprehensive and integrated analysis of the psychology of COVID-19.”

Given the import of its subject matter, SAGE Publishing (the parent of Social Science Space) had agreed to make the e-book freely available. Given the moment, Social Science Space is posting the uncorrected draft today. You can find the download link below. (And while this is free to read, keep in mind that the copyright holders – the authors and contributors — retain copyright.)

As the authors noted, such hurry-up approaches are both necessary and yet potentially pernicious. “Indeed,” they write, “because we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, it is very likely that aspects of our analysis will be somewhat outdated and incomplete by the time the book appears and readers should be mindful of this.

“Nevertheless, we are confident that much of the book’s content has enduring relevance — and indeed it was this that really motivated us to produce it.”

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