Perceptions of COVID Risk – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Perceptions of COVID Risk

Soha Tariq


Pronouns: she/hers

Research Mentor(s): Terri Conley, Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Psychology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 4 (2pm-2:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 3
Presenter: 1

Event Link


The ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic has forced every American to make difficult choices as to when they find it acceptable to possibly expose themselves to this deadly virus. An individual’s decision is based on their perceptions of how likely they are to contract the virus. These perceptions are influenced by many factors such as age, preferred political ideology, financial status, occupation, etc. This project focuses on a person’s perceived risk of contracting COVID-19. Two studies were conducted for this project: in Study 1, we asked participants to look at one of two scenarios where a person might be exposed to COVID-19 and rate the likelihood of that individual contracting COVID. In one scenario, the person was in a risky situation but had encounters with only one person, while in the other, they had brief yet safer encounters with multiple people. Participants in response to the first study perceived having only one contact as safer, even though this was not the reality. In Study 2, participants judged how many people they believe would die from COVID and Influenza out of a 1000 people, and were then asked to state their political preferences. Results showed that Biden and Trump voters estimated the fatality of COVID-19 and Influenza similarly, however, thoughts on how society is to handle the COVID-19 pandemic were significantly different between both groups.

Authors: Terri Conley, Nainika Mateti, Soha Tariq
Research Method: Survey Research

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