How has research changed your life

03.04.2020 10:49

Psychology: How social life and emotions are changing due to the coronavirus / Research at the University of Hildesheim

Isa Lange Press office
Hildesheim University Foundation

Professor Andreas Mojzisch (social psychology) and Professor Christina Bermeitinger (general psychology) examine the influence of the coronavirus on social life as well as changes in behavior and changes in emotions in the corona pandemic. Below you can read details about the two studies.


Prof. Dr. Andreas Mojzisch, Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Hildesheim, is currently conducting an online study on the influence of the coronavirus on social life in cooperation with colleagues from China, Italy, South Africa, Australia, the USA, the UK and Canada. Over 4,000 test subjects have now participated in the study.

The coronavirus outbreak is currently affecting the global population. The international research team wants to investigate how people perceive this event and what impact it has on their social life. In particular, the research team is investigating how the threat posed by the new corona virus affects our social relationships and what role it plays in how much we identify with certain groups, for example our friends or neighbors.

Research to date has shown that a sense of togetherness acts as a stress buffer, which means that it helps us deal better with threats. But does this also apply to the threat posed by the corona virus and does this also apply to all cultures? And could a high we-feeling even have a negative effect under certain circumstances, because you feel less threatened as a result of a high we-feeling and take the current situation lightly?

"Our study has the motto:‘ Physically apart but socially together ’. We are convinced that successfully containing the spread of the new corona virus requires a better understanding of how interpersonal relationships change in response to the threat posed by the virus, ”says Professor Andreas Mojzisch.

People can currently still take part in the study; this is the link to the online survey for the German sample:


Prof. Dr. Christina Bermeitinger from the Research Group General Psychology at the University of Hildesheim, in cooperation with her Chinese colleague Professor Jin Zheng and partners from the U.S.A., carried out a longitudinal study at the beginning of the corona pandemic in the period from February to March 2020.

"The question is to what extent pandemic-related changes in behavior and changes in emotional reactions are related to the assessment of the crisis management in the respective country," said Professor Bermeitinger. To what extent do behavior and affective reactions change in the course of the spread of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the assessment of crisis management? How does fear express itself emotionally, does behavior change?

The research team distributed the online survey with a catalog of almost 70 questions via social media and messenger apps to the local population in the city of Wuhan in the province of Hubei in the People's Republic of China as well as in Germany and the USA Of the 846 participants, 318 people received the Questions of both interview times answered in full. Almost all of the participants were not sick with COVID-19. For example, they were asked whether they felt more nervous and anxious than usual, whether they had covered their mouths with a respirator in the past three days, and whether they had taken preventive measures, such as when they feared door handles and buttons in the elevators that could transmit the novel coronaviruses. The research team also wanted to know whether the person surveyed rated the information provided by the health authorities to the public in their country as trustworthy.

“People from all three countries changed their behavior significantly over the few weeks of the survey - the people stated that they had increased preventive behavior. We could not find any significant change in general fear in the participating people. Crisis management in the federal states was rated equally well for both measurement times and in all federal states. In addition, there was no connection whatsoever between the assessment of the crisis management on the one hand and the emotions or behavior on the other. However, while China's own susceptibility to taking on the emotions of others (especially in public emergencies) decreased over the course of February, people from Germany and the U.S.A. showed an increased susceptibility at the second survey time. At the beginning of February there was still no difference between the countries, ”Professor Bermeitinger summarizes the results.

Participation in this study is no longer possible. The research documents are freely available "open access" on the Internet under the following link:!


University of Hildesheim
Department of Education and Social Sciences
Institute of Psychology

Prof. Dr. Christina Bermeitinger
Email: [email protected]

Prof. Dr. Andreas Mojzisch
Email: [email protected]


University of Hildesheim
Press officer
Isa Lange
Tel: 05121.883-90100
Mobile: 0177.860.5905
Email: [email protected]

Additional Information:

https: // ... - Press release from the University of Hildesheim: Research at the Institute for Psychology on the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak

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