The COVID-19 pandemic represents a massive, global health crisis. Because the crisis requires large-scale behavior change and poses significant psychological burdens on individuals, insights from the social and behavioural sciences are critical for optimizing pandemic response. Here we review relevant research from a diversity of research areas relevant to different dimensions of pandemic response.
We review foundational work on navigating threats, social and cultural factors, science communication, moral decision-making, leadership, and stress and coping that is relevant to pandemics. In each section, we outline implications for solving public health issues related to COVID-19. This interdisciplinary review points to several ways in which research can be immediately applied to optimize response to this pandemic, but also points to several important gaps that researchers should move quickly to fill in the coming weeks and months.