Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced Friday that researchers at UCSB received a National Science Foundation grant to study the psychological response to the threat of Ebola.
The project, titled “RAPID: The Psychology of Fear: Cultural Orientation and Response to Ebola Threat,” received $128,202.
Ebola is one of the deadliest contagious diseases to emerge into the public consciousness in recent years, and it has been a source of much fear globally, despite the fact that the actual risk of contagion is quite low in many parts of the world.
The research will focus on how people differ a great deal in how they perceive their vulnerability to Ebola, and how these different reactions are related to cultural values in large samples of Americans. By knowing the role of cultural values, the researchers believe that they can understand why people react the way that they do. Eventually, researchers hope to figure out more effective ways to cope with the anxiety and stress of disease-related threats. The research is being led by Dr. Heejung Kim in UCSB’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.