Consumer Psychology for a Pandemic
Insights into Finances, Scarcity, and Wellbeing, A collection from the Journal of Consumer Psychology
Author: Anirban Mukhopadhyay
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on worldwide, researchers have rushed to study the crisis and its implications through a variety of different lenses. As consumer psychologists, we have an opportunity, and perhaps even an obligation, to explore how areas such as consumer health-related decision-making, online social interactions, normative and informational influence, purchasing (rational and even irrational), and consumption have been affected by the uncertain and turbulent environment in which we now find ourselves. Indeed, as evidenced by the numerous COVID-19 related papers that have recently been submitted to the Journal of Consumer Psychology, consumer psychologists have risen to the occasion to study these subjects. These submissions represent an historically quick progression from ideation to initial submission, and reflect the growing emphasis in our community for scholarship that addresses the greater good.
As the months tick on, and COVID-19 remains an ever-present threat to our physical and mental health, economic security, and entire social fabric, a deeper set of fundamental issues reveals itself. The pandemic accentuates and exposes faults that already exist. The poor have gotten relatively even poorer, the weak have gotten relatively even weaker, and everyone is struggling to make sense of the hand they have been dealt.
As the current and incoming Editors-in-Chief of the Journal of Consumer Psychology, we believe that consumer psychologists have already amassed a great, but still growing, body of knowledge and insights into how consumers deal with resource inequities, social inequities and generalized uncertainty in their lives. We have a lot to say about these issues, and this inaugural Virtual Special Issue provides an opportunity for us to do so. We have curated a selection of recently published articles that focus on these very questions. They are collated under the headings: Financial Constraints and Inequities, Social and Power Inequities, and Making Meaning of Experiential Turbulence. We invite you to browse this collection and think about how these insights, almost all of which were written in the months before the pandemic hit us, shed new light upon the world we find ourselves in today.
We hope these articles spark fresh questions, new explorations, and valuable insights that help us as we navigate through, and recover from, our shared experience.
Take care and stay well.