Psychology Professor Leigh Ann Vaughn Coauthors Three Research Articles on Responding to COVID-19

By Leigh Ann Vaughn, August 5, 2022

Three empirical articles by Leigh Ann Vaughn and over 300 other researchers in 84 countries around the world have been published from the Psychological Science Accelerator COVID-19 Rapid Response project.

The Psychological Science Accelerator’s Rapid-Response COVID-19 Project is a bundle of three studies project to rapidly select and conduct rigorous, multi-site, and multinational research to understand the psychological and behavioral aspects of the COVID-19 crisis (

These projects generated numerous important findings. One is that changing one’s own thinking to change one’s emotions is an effective way to reduce negative emotions and enhance positive emotions in the COVID-19 pandemic (Wang et al., 2021). Another is that shaming and pressuring language in messages to motivate social distancing are counterproductive and lead to defiance (Psychological Science Accelerator Self-Determination Theory Collaboration, 2022). The third is that framing COVID-19 health messages in terms of potential losses (e.g., “If you do not practice these steps, you can endanger yourself and others”) increases anxiety and has little-to-no benefits compared to framing COVID-19 health messages in terms of potential gains (e.g., “If you practice these steps, you can protect yourself and others”; Dorison et al., in press). The references of the published or accepted papers are below.

Wang K., Goldenberg A., Dorison, C. A., Miller, J. K., Uusberg, A., Lerner, J. S., … Vaughn, L. A., … Moshontz, H. (2021). A multi-country test of brief reappraisal interventions on emotions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nature Human Behavior, 5, 1089–1110.

Psychological Science Accelerator Self-Determination Theory Collaboration (2022). A global experiment on motivating social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(22) e2111091119.

Dorison, C. A., Lerner, J. S., Heller, B. H., Rothman, A. J., Kawachi, I. I., Wang, K., …Vaughn, L. A., …Coles, N. A. (in press). In COVID-19 health messaging, loss framing increases anxiety with little-to-no concomitant benefits: Experimental evidence from 84 countries. Affective Science.

Professor Vaughn and her undergraduate research team contributed to these projects. She developed the IRB proposals for Ithaca College, managed data collection here, and helped write the papers. Her research team student recruited participants, helped trouble-shoot the Ithaca College data collection procedures, and collected data for the projects.

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