Can Psychological Traits Explain Mobility Behavior during the COVID-19 Pandemic? (2020)

The current COVID-19 pandemic is a global exogenous shock, impactingindividuals’ decision making and behavi our allowing researchers to test theories of personality by exploring how traits, in conjunction with individual and societal differences affect comp liance and cooperation. Study 1 used Google Mobility data and nation-leve l personality data from 31 countries, both before and after region- specific legislative in terventions, finding that agreeable nations are most consistently compliant with mobility restrictions. Study 2 (N= 105,857) replicated these findings using individual-level data, showing that several personality traits predict sheltering in place behavior, but extraverts are especially likely to remain mobile. Overall, our analyses reveal robust relationships between traits and regulatory compliance (mobility behaviour) both before and after region specific legislative interventions, and the global declarati on of the pandemic. Further, we find significant effects on re asons for leaving home, as well as age and gender differences, particularly relating to female agreeableness for previous and future social mobility behaviours.

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Chan Ho Fai, Moon Jordan, Savage David A., Skali Ahmed, Torgler Benno, Whyte Stephen