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How perceived scarcity predicted cooperation during early pandemic lockdown

Civai, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-6745-2074, Caserotti, M., Carrus, E. , Huijsmans, I. & Rubaltelli, E. (2022). How perceived scarcity predicted cooperation during early pandemic lockdown. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, p. 951757. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.951757


Both material resources (jobs, healthcare), and socio-psychological resources (social contact) decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic. We investigated whether individual differences in perceived material and socio-psychological scarcity experienced during the pandemic predicted preference for cooperation, measured using two Public Good Games (PGGs), where participants contributed money or time (i.e., hours indoors contributed to shorten the lockdown). Material scarcity had no relationship with cooperation. Increased perceived scarcity of socio-psychological wellbeing (e.g., connecting with family) predicted increased preference for cooperation, suggesting that missing social contact fosters prosociality, whilst perceived scarcity of freedom (e.g., limited movement) predicted decreased willingness to spend time indoors to shorten the lockdown. The importance of considering individual differences in scarcity perception to best promote norm compliance is discussed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 Civai, Caserotti, Carrus, Huijsmans and Rubaltelli. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Publisher Keywords: cooperation, pandemic lockdown, prosociality, scarcity, social norms
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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