Why we are more cautious when there's a light at the end of the tunnel

People tend to be more cautious when there’s a light a the end of the tunnel, writes Thomas D. Gilovich, professor of psychology, in a Los Angeles Times op-ed. Case in point: along with availability of effective COVID-19 vaccines, there has been an uptick in the number of people staying home and avoiding restaurants, and a reduction in gatherings of 10 or more people in much of the United States that began in mid-November.

“It seems that a technological breakthrough has been met by an improvement in human behavior among a wide swath of the U.S. population,” Gilovich writes in the piece. “These developments have led to a steep decline in case totals across much of the country, including California, which is at around 2,600 new cases a day, down from more than 40,000 in early January.

“Why did many people who were initially reluctant to follow COVID-19 guidelines get on board with the recommendations of health experts? After all, as the COVID-19 vaccines became available, one could have imagined previously noncompliant people becoming even less compliant.”

Read the story in the Los Angeles Times.

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