The people most worried about catching Covid judge other people's behavior more harshly, a study has claimed. Cambridge University researchers claimed people were more likely to look down on others or react with disgust at questionable actions if they were afraid of Covid. There wasn't a clear link to the virus itself but people may be less forgiving if they felt their own health was at risk, the scientists said. They added it meant people's judgments of others' behavior was not totally rational but was tied to their own feelings
The study, published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, did not focus on behaviours relating to the pandemic itself -- such as social distancing -- but considered a wide range of moral transgressions.
Between March and May 2020, over 900 study participants in the US were presented with a series of scenarios -- on harm, fairness, in-group loyalty, deference to authority, and purity -- and asked to rate them on a scale from 'not at all wrong' to 'extremely wrong'.
Example scenarios include one of loyalty: 'You see a man leaving his family business to go work for their main competitor'; and one of fairness: 'You see a tenant bribing a landlord to be the first to get their apartment repainted.' People who were more worried about catching Covid-19 judged the behaviors in these scenarios to be more wrong than those who were less worried.