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Online expert meeting to discuss research about behavioural responses to the social distancing measures, and on how new research findings could serve to shape policy.

Event details of Behaviour in the 1,5 meter society (online)
Date 25 August 2020
Time 09:30 -11:00
Initiator Benjamin van Rooij

About the topic

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities across the globe have taken measures to slow the spread of the virus and protect vulnerable groups from contagion. These measures are vital in decreasing mortality and reducing the overburdening of health care systems. Following the original lockdown measures, most jurisdictions have continued social distancing rules. Under such rules people are asked to maintain a safe distance from people outside of their own household. These social distancing measures ask for a prolonged and impactful change in human behaviour that can deeply affect social and economic activities. Researchers from across the globe have sought to understand how people and organisations have responded, and how they have adapted their behaviour. There has been a rapid growth in papers that analyse hypothetical, self-reported and actual behavioural responses to these social distancing measures.

Science versus Corona and the UvA Institute for Advanced Study host an online session to discuss research about behavioural responses to the social distancing measures. It will feature research conducted in The Netherlands that uses different types of approaches. It will include survey research that uses self-reported measures to capture behavioural responses, as well as research that uses police camera data to capture whether people in the public space maintain a safe distance. It will also touch upon the possibilities of conducting experiments with real time tracing methods.

The discussion will focus on what the advantages and limitations are of the different approaches to measure behavioural responses to social distancing measures. It will discuss what other potential data could be studied and how different sources of data can best be integrated. It will look at how findings from these sources of data should be interpreted and could serve to shape policy.



Opening by Jop de Vrieze


Setting the scene by Benjamin van Rooij


Behavioural research methods, with short presentations by:  

  • Frenk van Harreveld on self-reported methods
  • Marie Rosenkrantz Lindegaard on police camera data
  • Denny Borsboom on experiments with real time tracing
  • Mike Lees on integration of various research methods


Plenary discussion


Wrap-up and way forward by Jop de Vrieze & Benjamin van Rooij

Participants / Panelists

  • Benjamin van Rooij, Law and Behaviour
  • Frenk van Harreveld, Social Psychology
  • Marie Rosenkrantz Lindegaard, Anthropologist and Criminologist
  • Denny Borsboom, Psychological Methods
  • Mike Lees, Computational Science
  • Julia van Weert, Health Communication
  • Andreas Schuck, Political Communication and Journalism
  • Chris Reinders Folmer, Social Psychology
  • Sanne de Wit, Clinical Psychology
  • Luc Coffeng, Epidemiology and Mathematical Modelling
  • Marijn de Bruin, RIVM Corona Behavioural Unit
  • Taco Temminck Tuinstra, Public Order and Safety at the City of Amsterdam 


  • Jop de Vrieze


You can follow this discussion online.

About the series: 'The COVID-19 pandemic: time to reflect'

Together with Science versus Corona, we organise a series of discussions to foster exchange, debate and collaboration between the disciplines. Researchers are invited to initiate new discussions by proposing a theme.