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The Big Read: Post-pandemic, life isn’t as different as predicted but some changes — big and small — have stuck

An expert on why behavior change persists and why it doesn’t

Given the magnitude of the devastation of COVID-19 affecting millions of lives and livelihoods around the world, it is inevitable that the pandemic has caused some changes in people’s behavior, experts say today. rice field.

NUS sociologist Tan Ern Ser said the reason some behavioral changes continue even as people learn to live with the virus is because the benefits of adopting such changes outweigh the costs. says that.

For example, technology is convenient, easy to use, saves time and money, and is becoming more present in people’s lives, whether it’s shopping or work.

However, Dr. Tan pointed out that human interactions and activities such as verbal and non-verbal communication cannot be fully facilitated by digital means.

“People are returning to a ‘new normal’ that enables multidimensional human interaction, along with the use of digital means, although the positive aspects of digital use will remain, if desired,” he said. said.

Dr. Ong of Research For Impact says that at the individual level, there may be no clear way to predict why some behaviors return to pre-pandemic mode sooner than others.

“An individual’s willingness to take risks, subjective perception of risk, and the tangible and intangible costs and benefits inherent in an individual’s circumstances all shape behavior,” she said.

“All else being equal, certain people may be willing to take certain risks and return to pre-pandemic behavior sooner than others.”

Gianna Gayle Amal, senior policy researcher and communications director at Research for Impact, reiterated that government policy played a major role in shaping behavior during the pandemic.

“At a more macro level, some reversals in behavior can be attributed in part to government policies, such as the rebound in global tourism and the economic slowdown not just regionally, but globally. incentives to drive reboots, etc.,” she said.

Most people in Singapore have been vaccinated or have had COVID-19 at least once, so there is also some confidence that they are safe from severe infection.

“As a global city-state, Singapore cannot afford to be left shut down when the rest of the world decides to ‘move on’ from the ongoing pandemic,” Amr said.

This story was first published today.

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