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Graduate student Patricio Cruz y Celis Peniche receives National Science Foundation (Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant).

RAPID: Coupled Contagion, Behavior-Change, and the Dynamics of Pro- and Anti-Social Behavior During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Award Abstract # 2028160
RAPID: Coupled Contagion, Behavior-Change, and the Dynamics of Pro- and Anti-Social Behavior During the COVID-19 Pandemic


Division Of Behavioral and Cognitive Sci
Initial Amendment Date: April 27, 2020
Latest Amendment Date: July 7, 2022
Award Number: 2028160
Award Instrument: Standard Grant
Program Manager: Jeffrey Mantz
jmantz@nsf.gov  (703)292-7783
BCS  Division Of Behavioral and Cognitive Sci
SBE  Direct For Social, Behav & Economic Scie
Start Date: May 1, 2020
End Date: April 30, 2023 (Estimated)
Total Intended Award Amount: $197,622.00
Total Awarded Amount to Date: $233,283.00
Funds Obligated to Date: FY 2020 = $197,622.00
FY 2022 = $35,661.00
History of Investigator:
  • James  Jones (Principal Investigator)
  • Michelle  Kline (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Cristina  Moya (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Paul  Smaldino (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Zack  Almquist (Co-Principal Investigator)
Awardee Sponsored Research Office: Stanford University
450 Jane Stanford Way
CA  US  94305-2004
Sponsor Congressional District: 18
Primary Place of Performance: Stanford University
Deptartment of Earth System Scie
CA  US  94305-4121
Primary Place of Performance
Congressional District:
Unique Entity Identifier (UEI): HJD6G4D6TJY5
Parent UEI: HJD6G4D6TJY5
NSF Program(s): Cultural Anthropology
Primary Program Source:  
040100 R&RA CARES Act DEFC N
Program Reference Code(s): 096Z, 1390, 7914, 9178, 9179
Program Element Code(s): 1390
Award Agency Code: 4900
Fund Agency Code: 4900
Assistance Listing Number(s): 47.075

Note: This Award includes Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.


The current COVID-19 pandemic involves both tremendous risk and tremendous uncertainty about that risk, at unprecedented scales and across demographic and cultural contexts. How individuals interpret, understand, and respond to that risk have important implications for the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, SARS-CoV-2. This research leverages the ubiquity of SARS-CoV-2 amid varying community, regional, and national responses to test theories about the transmission of behavioral norms, linking individual characteristics (identities, homophily, transmission biases such as conformity or prestige risk management, and demographics), sources of information about the virus, and effects on transmission. Coupled contagion modeling has tended to be limited to demonstration of concept. The incorporation of real time behavioral response data in the modeling of couple contagion improves prospects for improved epidemic control through the promotion of pro-social behavior. This project will train students from under-represented minorities and a post-doctoral scholar in epidemiology. Results will be made immediately available to the public and will inform development of educational material.

This project will study the coupled contagion dynamics of COVID-19 and related behavioral responses, including (but not limited to) increased hygiene (e.g., hand-washing), social distancing, social gathering (purposeful resistance to distancing), hoarding of supplies, and signaling of either alarm or defiance in response to official reports of threat. Investigators will collect data longitudinally in three waves starting from severe non-pharmaceutical interventions such as "lockdowns" through the expected course of the epidemic. Surveys will assess risk-reduction behaviors, compliance with public-health mandates, and hypothesized predictors of response including trust in various institutions, social capital, and sources of news and information. To complement the empirical data collection, the investigators will develop and analyze mathematical and simulation-based models that jointly track the dynamics of virus transmission and behavior change. The models will be parameterized with data collected in the survey. Particular focus will be given to the consequences of behaviors driven by conflicting messages about seriousness and the appropriateness of different types of interventions for disease transmission. An important goal of this modeling is to develop insights for improving public-health interventions, motivating compliance, and ensuring that effective and accessible information about the virus is available to the public.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.


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Jones, James Holland and Hazel, Ashley and Almquist, Zack "Transmission‐dynamics models for the SARS Coronavirus‐2" American Journal of Human Biology , v.32 , 2020 https://doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23512 Citation Details
Moya, Cristina and Cruz y Celis Peniche, Patricio and Kline, Michelle A. and Smaldino, Paul E. "Dynamics of behavior change in the COVID world" American Journal of Human Biology , v.32 , 2020 https://doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23485 Citation Details