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Alexander Bor, Frederik Jorgensen, Michael Bang Petersen: Discriminatory Attitudes Against the Unvaccinated During a Global Pandemic

In their article in Nature, our Post-doctoral Fellow Alexander Bor and co-authors Frederik Jorgensen and Michael Bang Petersen quantify discriminatory attitudes between vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens in 21 countries.

They assess “assess whether people express discriminatory attitudes in the form of negative affect, stereotypes and exclusionary attitudes in family and political settings across groups defined by Covid-19 vaccination status.” Across three conjoint experimental studies, they demonstrate that “vaccinated people express discriminatory attitudes towards the unvaccinated, as high as the discriminatory attitudes suffered by common targets like immigrant and minority populations. In contrast, there is an absence of evidence that unvaccinated individuals display discriminatory attitudes towards vaccinated people, except for the presence of negative affect in Germany and United States.”

The authors found “evidence in support of discriminatory attitudes against the unvaccinated in all countries except Hungary and Romania and find that discriminatory attitudes are more strongly expressed in cultures with stronger cooperative norms. Prior research on the psychology of cooperation has shown that individuals react negatively against perceived free-riders including in the domain of vaccinations.”

The findings suggest that “contributors to the public good of epidemic control (i.e., the vaccinated) react with discriminatory attitudes against perceived free-riders (i.e., the unvaccinated). Elites and the vaccinated general public appealed to moral obligations to increase Covid-19 vaccine uptake, but the present findings suggest that discriminatory attitudes including support for the removal of fundamental rights simultaneously emerged.”

Read the full article here.

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