Author Interviews, Respiratory, Social Issues, University of Michigan / 31.01.2024 Interview with: Wilson N. Merrell
Ph.D. Student
Department of Psychology
University of MichiganWilson N. Merrell Ph.D. Student Department of Psychology University of Michigan What is the background for this study? Response: From the common cold to COVID-19, people get sick all the time. Because our social worlds don’t pause just because we are feeling ill, we often still need to navigate in-person events ranging from work and school to first dates and family dinners even while we’re feeling under the weather. In these kinds of social situations, do we always tell others when we’re feeling sick, or are there times when we may want to downplay our illness? After all, we tend to react negatively to, find less attractive, and steer clear of people who are sick with infectious illness. To the extent that we want to avoid these negative social outcomes while sick, it therefore makes sense that we may take steps to cover up our sickness in social situations. Given that this concealment could serve individual social goals (like allowing you to connect with others) at the cost of broader harms to public health (through the spread of infectious disease), we found this behavior both theoretically novel and practically timely. (more…)