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Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2021

Self-Construal and Pro-Social Pandemic Behavior

Luke Tacke

Senior, Psychology

Ben Saltigerald

Graduate, Cognitive and Affective Sciences


The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a wealth of research examining how various aspects of personality and identity predict people’s responses to precautions and regulations developed to reduce the transmission of Covid-19. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relations between individual’s self-construal—how individuals define themselves in terms of individual traits or their relationship to others (Markus & Kitayama, 1991)—and how self-construal may predict their engagement in Covid-19 preventative behaviors. Another aspect of this study was to investigate the potential motivations for why people practice these behaviors. Do they engage in these behaviors to protect themselves, those close to them, or their communities? One hundred sixty-five undergraduate participants from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh completed online surveys that measured their self-construal, engagement in Covid-19 preventative behaviors, and reasons for practicing these behaviors. Results revealed that different types of self-construal were unrelated to engagement in Covid-19 preventive behavior or to different reasons for practicing these behaviors. However, results did reveal that engagement in preventative behaviors were related to motivations to protect close others and communities rather than motivation to protect the self.

Project Background 

This project was a great way to explore alternate avenues that the scientific process can occur it. With Covid curbing the ability to conduct in-person research, online survey software became the new norm of data collection for this year at UW Oshkosh. Learning how to conduct research in an online format became a cool and interesting skill to have and apply in such a setting. The study done was also quite interesting, looking at how facets of ones personality can predict how they respond to something as universal and impactful as Covid.

What Do You Think? 

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1 Comment

  1. David Lishner

    Good job Luke and Ben. Nice, concise presentation.


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