Negative emotions and risk perceptions peaked the same month that looking at statistics also peaked

Updated: Sep 3, 2021

In March, people were most likely to look up COVID statistics every single day. Negative emotions to COVID-19 peaked that same month. From May-December, emotions and looking at statistics every day then both remained fairly steady.

It is still unclear whether negative emotions led to seeking out statistics or whether seeking out statistics led to negative emotions, as discussed in this New York Times piece. Scientists and clinicians can do their part to present statistics in ways that improve understanding, and consumers can also seek out information to help them use statistics more appropriately.

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