The COVID-19 pandemic has brought science into the public eye and to the attention of governments more than ever before. Much of this attention is on work in epidemiology, virology, and public health, with most behavioural advice in public health focussing squarely on ‘proximate’ determinants of behaviour. While epidemiological models are powerful tools to predict the spread of disease when human behaviour is stable, most do not incorporate behavioural change. The evolutionary basis of our preferences and the cultural evolutionary dynamics of our beliefs drive behavioural change, so understanding these evolutionary processes can help inform individual and government decisionmaking in the face of a pandemic.
Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, n. eoaa038, October 2020