ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (5): 497-515.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00497

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The impact of individualism on the efficiency of epidemic control and the underlying computational and psychological mechanisms

HUANG Liqin, SUN Yin, LUO Siyang()   

  1. Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510006, China
  • Received:2021-05-14 Published:2022-05-25 Online:2022-03-23
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(32071081);National Natural Science Foundation of China(31800916);basic and applied research foundation of Guangdong Province(2020A1515010975)


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global health crisis, and some countries experience difficulties in controlling the infection and mortality of COVID-19. Based on previous findings, we argue that individualistic cultural values are not conducive to the control of the epidemic. The results of the cross-cultural analysis showed that the individualistic cultural values positively predicted the number of deaths, deaths per million, and mortality of COVID-19, and the independent self-construct negatively predicted the efficiency of epidemic control in the early phase. The evolutionary game model and cross-cultural experiment further suggested that individualistic culture reduced the efficiency of overall epidemic control by enhancing individuals' fear of death in the context of the epidemic and increased individuals' tendency to violate epidemic control. Our results support the natural-behavioral-cultural co-evolution model, suggesting the impact of culture on the control of virus transmission and deaths during COVID-19, and provide an important scientific reference for countries to respond to global public health crises.

Key words: culture, individualism, illegal mobility, government regulation, epidemic control, Agent Based Modeling, fear of death