Members in the Media
From: Scientific American

How Pandemic Life Mimicked Pioneer Times

In the spring of 2020, faced with a deadly pandemic and instructions to stay at home, a remarkable number of Americans began baking bread. They planted vegetable gardens. They took up DIY home repair. They sat down for dinner with the same few family members—every single night. For anyone who was not an essential worker, the experience felt like a return to pioneer days.

According to two studies published this year, in many ways, we really did reverse the clock. American activities, values and relationships began to resemble those found in small, isolated villages where life is a struggle and illness and death lurk outside the door. “When survival threats increase, and the social world contracts, as it did with COVID and stay-at-home orders, we found that people very quickly adapt, and those adaptions reflect behavior and values that were very prevalent at an earlier point in human history,” says Patricia M. Greenfield, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, who led both studies.

Greenfield’s perception is shared by others. “It seems adaptable to go back to basics when we feel threatened,” says Ashley Maynard, a cultural developmental psychologist at the University of Hawaii, who was not involved in the research. “Perhaps a silver lining of the pandemic is a renewed focus on the family and the sustainability of simple daily routines as components of well-being.”

Read the whole story (subscription may be required): Scientific American

More of our Members in the Media >

APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines.

Please login with your APS account to comment.