Coronavirus: why can’t people stay indoors?

Coronavirus: why can’t people stay indoors?

What drives people not to comply with the isolation and rules that have been established to protect everyone’s health to reduce coronavirus infections?


Advertising message There are several factors that can cause people not to stay at home despite ministerial ordinances, heartfelt television and radio-television appeals, news of people known in solitary confinement for precautionary purposes or, even worse, because they are infected.

The reasons can be traced back to three orders of factors.

The fact that we do not touch the element harmful to our health with our hands leads people irrationally to think that in reality it cannot be found among us. And then we tend to underestimate the extent of the event because, by definition, the human being basically believes in what he sees. The illustrious theory of cognitive coherence, at the basis of social psychology, could help us better understand its mechanism: man tends to be coherent with himself in the way of thinking and acting. The human need to maintain a coherent self-image is in fact a very powerful factor that guides and motivates our behavior and our choices.

When a state of coherence is lacking, man experiences an unease that tries, in some way, to overcome, eliminate or reduce by implementing a cognitive restructuring.

Leon Festinger (1957) describes the cardinal principles on which this theory is based:

Advertising message Man tends, erroneously, to think “it is not certain that I can get sick”. If in a population of 30,000 people only 5 are ill then the probability of me becoming infected is very minimal. In fact, the likelihood of being infected is only being underestimated. The cognitive bias theory (Kahneman & Tversky, 2002) explains how these false reasonings underlie dysfunctional beliefs that can generate maladaptive behaviors. In the specific case, to explain the behavior of leaving the house despite the bans, the availability heuristic helps us which is used to estimate the probability of a fact happening, based on the information we have.

By nature, people are led to aggregation, to sharing. Instinctively man cannot tolerate loneliness and go against his true nature as a social animal. In this particular period of semi-enclosure, people feel more than ever the need to share emotions, sensations, fears, sharing news, thoughts, opinions and opinions as a push towards understanding and moral and psychological support. Without aggregation there can therefore be no knowledge, stimulus, exchange, emotion, all that man needs to feel alive.

In emergency cases like this, the watchwords are rationality and respect for the rules, leaving aside, in fact, our instinct and our irrational side which, by nature, prevail in case of danger.

The invitation to face this period of forced enclosure in a calm and less traumatic way is to follow some simple tips: