Culturally tight societies like Singapore fare better in fight against Covid-19

Singaporean Queuing


The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to a far stronger showing in countries with improved social stability like Singapore, with just one-quad of infections seen in countries with a large degree of “cultural looseness”

As the countries with cultural casualties have about nine times the number of fatalities, the output gap is larger in terms of deaths per million people.

These associations are based on data from 57 nations, beginning with the pandemic to Oct 16 last year from an article reported in the Lancet Planetary Health Journal on Jan 29.

The research team of mostly psychologists, along with professor Michele J. Gelfand of the University of Maryland’s Psychological Department, have said that up to now success and outcomes across cultures can no longer be correlated.

Psychologists have long assumed that “tight groups coordinate much faster and have higher survival rates than loose groups”

The article states, “The Covid-19 pandemic provides a natural context to test whether differences in cultural tightness-looseness are related to collective outcomes during a global threat.”

Culturally tight countries usually meet certain societal guidelines and anticipate how citizens in most cases can behave.

Tight societies experience natural hazards, the prevalence of illness, lack of capital and invasions.

“Stronger societies like China, Singapore and South Korea, while looser cultures like Brazil, Spain and the United States are softer and much more permissive, have tighter laws and penalties for deviance.

“Tight cultures have lots of discipline, that is, fewer crime and more organization and auto control. Loose cultures have less order and coordination but more transparency.

In close, cultural communities, more citizens feared Covid-19 – 70 percent vs 49 percent in looser-culture countries.

It said:”Tightening social norms might confer an evolutionary advantage in times of collective threat.”

The piece was considered fascinating by Associate Professor Alex Cook, Dean of Study of the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, who “formalizes what I, and I’m sure others, had thought of as a fundamental explanation of why countries like Singapore could keep the pandemic mostly under control while others like the US could not”

He added that research shows that laws will have to be tighter in countries with greater looseness in order to adjust for lower adhesion.

Yet Professor Teo Yik Ying, school dean, was against the writers’ findings.

It is too simple to conclude that it is primarily cultural, and that westernized cultures are more political and egalitarian, and therefore weaker in the society to act obligations for and for common good.” “I don’t just see this as a question of cultural relaxation or tenderness,” he said.

He then wondered if the high degree of performance against Covid-19 will be mirrored in areas such as New Zealand and Australia.

“Culturally, they would be more similar to Western countries with a more democratic outlook,” he said, but “performed extremely well in managing the outbreaks”