How social learning shapes the efficacy of preventative health behaviors in an outbreak.
Bentley, R Alexander
Fefferman, Nina H
Public Library of Science (PLoS)
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Carrignon, S., Bentley, R. A., Silk, M., & Fefferman, N. H. (2022). How social learning shapes the efficacy of preventative health behaviors in an outbreak.. PLoS One, 17 (1), e0262505. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0262505
The global pandemic of COVID-19 revealed the dynamic heterogeneity in how individuals respond to infection risks, government orders, and community-specific social norms. Here we demonstrate how both individual observation and social learning are likely to shape behavioral, and therefore epidemiological, dynamics over time. Efforts to delay and reduce infections can compromise their own success, especially when disease risk and social learning interact within sub-populations, as when people observe others who are (a) infected and/or (b) socially distancing to protect themselves from infection. Simulating socially-learning agents who observe effects of a contagious virus, our modelling results are consistent with with 2020 data on mask-wearing in the U.S. and also concur with general observations of cohort induced differences in reactions to public health recommendations. We show how shifting reliance on types of learning affect the course of an outbreak, and could therefore factor into policy-based interventions incorporating age-based cohort differences in response behavior.
Algorithms, COVID-19, Disease Outbreaks, Health Behavior, Humans, Masks, Physical Distancing, SARS-CoV-2, Social Learning
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0262505
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/335145
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/