How Individuals, Communities, and Cultures Approach and Respond to Pandemics
Project Description

This project is a mix of research psychology and a touch of humanities. There are three approaches the lab is undertaking:

1) Worldwide survey. Working with labs in about 15 countries, we are asking people to complete surveys about the ways their lives are changing since before COVID. So far, at least 30,000 people have completed the surveys at regular intervals since about March 27. To see or participate, go to "The Pandemic Project: The Study of People during COVID-19

2) Reddit analyses. Using big data methods, we are analyzing hundreds of thousands of comments by people in 22 American cities over the last year through their participation in subReddits. We are able to track the degrees people are socially and emotionally connected to others, experience and talk about their emotions, and how they are connecting to social movements, including Black Lives Matter.

3) Online expressive writing. We have created a website where people are encouraged to write about their thoughts and feelings associated with COVID. We are collaborating with a computer science group at the University of Michigan to expand this to something called Expressive Interviewing. Finally, we also have a blog–"Understanding People and Groups"–dedicated to some of this research.

Translational Perspective

Expressive writing has been found to increase people's physical and mental health. We are using the same methods of expressive writing to help reduce people's feelings of anxiety and uncertainty about COVID.

Contact Infomation: First name
Contact Information: Last name
Contact Information: Position title
Professor of Psychology
Contact Information: Institutional affiliation
University of Texas at Austin
Contact Information: Email address
pennebaker [at]

Austin, Texas, USA