Skip to content
How COVID is changing the values ​​of Americans

TUESDAY, February 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) – As the COVID-19 pandemic transformed daily life in 2020, Americans have started to dwell on a few key topics, including sourdough bread.

But we also tweeted and researched sacrifice, survival and death, according to new research on trends online.

Researchers analyzed how Google searches and the wording of half a billion words and phrases on Twitter, blogs and internet forums changed between the 10 weeks leading up to March 13, 2020, when a national emergency took hold. been declared, and the 10 weeks that followed.

Use of the word “help” on Twitter increased 37% after March 13, while use of the word “share” increased 24%. “Sacrifice” appeared more than twice as often on Twitter.

“’Sacrifice’ was a complete non-beginner in American culture before COVID,” said study author Patricia Greenfield, distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The study determined that the pandemic inspired a resurgence of community-driven values, with people thinking more about supporting each other, Greenfield said in a UCLA press release.

Americans placed more importance on the well-being of others, including willingness to participate in Black Lives Matter protests, said co-author Noah Evers, an undergraduate psychology student at Harvard University.

Evers is Greenfield’s grandson. Her brother, Gabriel Evers, is a high school student at Crossroads School in Santa Monica, Calif., And also a co-author of the article.

While thinking of others, people were also considering their own mortality, the results found. Internet activity showed a dramatic increase in search activity for the word “survive”, which increased by 47%. Searches for “cemeteries” increased by 41%, while people also searched for more information on burials and deaths. There were 115% more mentions on Twitter of the phrase “fear of death”.

There was also strong evidence of a return to a rural or handyman mindset: Google searches increased 344% for “growing vegetables” and 207% for “sewing machine,” while Twitter mentions “Home Depot” grew 266%.

But Google searches for “sourdough” increased the most – they increased 384% after the start of the pandemic. Twitter mentions jumped 460%. Searches for “baked bread” and Twitter mentions have also exploded.