Published: May 1, 2020
Peter Huang

University of Colorado Law School Professor and DeMuth Chair Peter Huang has received a CU Boulder Interdisciplinary Leadership Research (ILR) seed grant for his research on lessening anxiety, panic, and complacency in pandemics.

Selected by the University of Colorado Office of the Chancellor and Center for Leadership, ILR seed grants aim to stimulate inter- and multidisciplinary research, scholarship, and creative works on the topic of leadership.

Huang’s article, "Pandemic Emotions, Public Health, Financial Economics, Law, and Leadership," offers an interdisciplinary analysis of emotions, or lack thereof, during pandemics and analyzes how societal responses to pandemics have implications for public health, financial economics, law, and leadership.

"Crises produce emotions that impact decision-making. Pandemics are heart-breaking global biopsychosocial health crises. Covid-19 caused massive tragic economic, emotional, mental, physical, and psychological suffering. These difficulties are interconnected and lead to a vicious cycle," Huang wrote.

Huang specializes in business law; law and emotions; law, happiness, and subjective well-being; law and mindfulness; law and neuroscience; law and psychology; law and real options; derivative securities; and securities enforcement, litigation, and regulation. He has written extensively on the subjects of mindfulness, happiness, ethics, and improved decision-making.

Read the article on SSRN.

Abstract:

The central theme of this Article is emotions or their lack during pandemics and societal responses to pandemics have implications for public health, financial economics, law, and leadership. This Article offers an interdisciplinary analysis of these implications. Crises produce emotions that impact decision-making. Pandemics are heart-breaking global biopsychosocial health crises. Covid-19 caused massive tragic economic, emotional, mental, physical, and psychological suffering. These difficulties are interconnected and lead to a vicious cycle. Fear distorts people’s decision readiness, deliberation, information acquisition, risk perception, and thinking. Distortions cause people to make unfortunate eating, financial, health, political, and sleeping decisions, causing additional fears. Emotions have direct health impacts and indirect behavior impacts with their own health impacts. People differ vastly in whether, how much, and when they experience anxiety, complacency, and panic during a pandemic. Most feel some anxiety initially, then panic upon seeing empty grocery shelves in person and on social media, and finally develop a sense of complacency upon settling into the routine of a new normal. This Article advocates lessening anger, anxiety, frustration, panic, and complacency in pandemics by:

(1) paying monthly Covid-19 Pandemic Financial Assistance Dividends,

(2) encouraging people to practice mindfulness,

(3) gentle enforcement of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions,

(4) calm, clear, empathetic, honest, science-driven, and transparent leadership communication,

(5) compassionate, courageous, data-based, decisive, and mindful leadership.