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By - Anmol Kapoor

Impact of Coronavirus on Human Behaviour and Social Dynamics

Coronavirus has had a deep impact on the societal dynamics, becoming a part of everyone’s lives around the world as people talk about it all the time. From ways to stay safe from the disease, and other best practices to follow, COVID-19 has somehow crept into every other conversation. Its impact is far deeper than many people can see, as it has affected the way people interact, the frequency and intensity of those interactions, and the time period. Changing the very roots of societal dynamics, it is bringing about different perceptions to the human life and its coexistence.

 

Let’s understand a few aspects where the virus has impacted:-

 

Shifting priorities to our own lives

 

The pandemic has caused worldwide lockdowns, bringing about an unprecedented stoppages in the global supply chains. Everything from essential goods to luxury items have become more difficult to procure for people. Apart from many being pushed into a minimalism lifestyle on many fronts, their are other hidden impacts. Imagine this, we all have families, friends, and relatives, who we care about, and check up on time to time, right? We do all this through our cognitive resources, which are also busy helping us manage our own daily lives. Humans have limited cognitive resources, and the pandemic has strained them, with low availability of basic goods and the ‘new normal’ we have to adapt to. In such a case, many of us may face these problems, as we re-prioritize all the fronts, and bring focus from the people around us to our own daily lives, dealing with the scarcities.

 

Impact on communication channels

 

Man is said to be a social animal, and no matter how much the technology is integrated into our lives, we always require even the most little of a human connection in life. As the pandemic brings with it fears, stigmas, and most importantly, lockdowns, many of us are not only left with cravings for social interactions, but also feel emotionally distant. This has various aspects, including the fact that prolonged distances from people creeps in sort of a seclusion in our lifestyles to some extent. One other fact is that people are also dealing with mental impacts, as the ‘sharing and caring’ part is also toned down due to minimal social interaction. One more important fact relates to the mode of communication, which has largely been observed going digital. The digital mode is relatively weaker when compared to the real-life, as it can not appeal to the senses the way real life interactions do, leaving a lot more to be desired.


Rising tensions in daily lives, impacting societal dynamics

 

A lockdown is a serious and multifaceted event, with more to it than meets the eye. The masses are worried, with topics of tensions ranging from how to procure items of daily need and arranging for essential travel, to not contacting the disease and ensuring job security amid a worldwide recession. The factor of uncertainty is also at play here, with mental stress rising due to it. For many, the pandemic’s crisis has become a tunnel with no end in sight. People are worrying due to the uncertainty, with a question ‘When does it end?’ We see people around us facing difficulty in managing and adapting to the various changes, more alone in many senses now, than ever. Many of those who have sufficient incomes, are also troubled due to lack of things that offer them comfort, apart from necessities. For some people it is basic food items, and for many it may be a gathering of friends to help forget their tensions and stress.

 

Behavioral effects and changes in patterns

 

After finding comfort in your homes, sitting and working from the comfort of your bedroom or dining room, would you go out more or less? Different people have a different answer to this question. Many would see a decrease in the times they leave their home, and work more on arranging for everything they need to be stocked up. When we go out, we not only do so to solve a purpose, but also engage in various forms of human interactions. Opening a door for another shopper at a store, picking up fallen things for an old man, engaging in small talk with the neighbour or a shopkeeper, are part of those excursions. Being isolated for long periods of time may have an impact on such daily activities may have a deeper impact on our behaviour, and the things that make us more human. These changes also have a large collective impact on societal dynamics, affecting them in more ways than we generally notice.


The idea of conversations

 

It may have been sensed by many, that they have spoken less amid the pandemic than they usually do. How so? Let’s take an average bachelor who works a regular shift. This person has seen less visits to the nearby store to buy stuff, less outings with his friends, less conversations with the people around him at the office, and less visits to a mall, a pub, or a place of worship. He still works from home, and is busy for the better part of the day, speaking only when necessary, by initiating or answering calls. This also somewhat limits the factor of person’s talk time which is mostly after the work hours. The point to be reflected upon here, is, that would we speak more than we used to or less when we get back with the normal lives in the post pandemic era? Whichever your answer maybe, for a large number of people, it will signify a change in their conversations, again impacting the societal dynamics at large.


In the end, it would all boil down to the individuals, and their own choices for the future. As scientists and experts study the changes to determine broader and immediate impacts on societal dynamics, it is always suggested to adapt to the changes, while persevering the tough times and finding ways to deal with the stress that could come with them.