Episode 72

COVID-19 Related Health Behaviours – How Evolution and Culture Influence Our Choices with Professor Ron Fischer


August 31st, 2021

1 hr 18 mins 7 secs

Your Host

About this Episode

In this episode Nathan dips his toes into the field of psychology, speaking with Professor Ron Fischer about evolutionary psychology, parasite stress theory and how cultural norms and attitudes influence health behaviours, specifically with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professor Ron’s research interests include value and personality processes, with a specific focus on evolutionary dynamics across time and cultures as well as how values and personal traits influence our health and well-being.

This fascinating conversation provides insight into potential influences of COVID-19 related health behaviour; tune in for a deeper understanding into what motivates our choice to social distance, wear masks and receive a vaccination.


  • Introduction to evolutionary psychology (6:00)
  • The Schwartz Model (12:00)
  • Parasite stress theory (20:00)
  • COVID-19 related health behaviours (33:30)
  • Insights into COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy (45:40)
  • Behavioural intentions regarding COVID-19 (59:30)

Useful Links and Resources
About Professor Ronald Fischer: https://people.wgtn.ac.nz/Ronald.Fischer/grants

Fischer R, Bortolini T, Pilati R, Porto J, Moll J. Values and COVID-19 worries: The importance of emotional stability traits. Personality and Individual Differences. 2021 Jun 22:111079.
Fischer R, Karl JA. Predicting Behavioral Intentions to Prevent or Mitigate COVID-19: A Cross-Cultural Meta-Analysis of Attitudes, Norms, and Perceived Behavioral Control Effects. Social Psychological and Personality Science. 2020 Nov 17:19485506211019844.
Edwards B, Biddle N, Gray M, Sollis K. COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and resistance: Correlates in a nationally representative longitudinal survey of the Australian population. PLoS One. 2021 Mar 24;16(3):e0248892. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0248892.
Thornhill R, Fincher CL. The parasite-stress theory of sociality, the behavioral immune system, and human social and cognitive uniqueness. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences. 2014 Oct;8(4):257.

You Tube Videos:
Parasite stress & human behavioral immune system
Has COVID-19 changed who we are? The case of human values