Crisis and Conflict

Research theme

The COVID-19 pandemic has not just been an unprecedented epidemiological and biological challenge, but a behavioural one as well

Current research in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science seeks to investigate some of the behavioural and psychological impacts of emergent crises in the world today, including the COVID-19 pandemic and new and historic conflicts in the Global South, Europe and the Middle East.

Experts in the Department explore the impacts of major events on:

  • Individual and community wellbeing in response to crisis and armed conflict.
  • The role of physical and psychological distance on individual humanitarian responses.
  • Behavioural attitudes towards and compliance with large-scale public health interventions including vaccination uptake.
  • Perceptions and attitudes towards risk-taking in high-stakes situations.
  • Behavioural attitudes and opportunities for behavioural change towards the environment during societal disruption.
  • Shifts in work culture and impacts on diversity and inclusion as a result of global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic.


The COVID-19 pandemic has not only been an unprecedented epidemiological and biological challenge, but a behavioural one as well. Governments around the world have asked their citizens to alter their habits including more frequent hand washing, wearing a face mask, working remotely, and isolating from friends and family. COVID has impacted every facet of our lives, and its effects will reverberate for years to come. 

Psychological and behavioural science has played a vital role in understanding how to encourage lockdown compliance and how individuals cope in these tumultuous times.

Psychological research has helped frame debates about the social and economic conditions that contribute to poor mental health, exacerbated by long periods of restrictions. 

Researchers in the department are leaders in the rapidly growing field of behavioural science, and many have and continue to advise governments directly on pandemic responses. Drawing on multidisciplinary theories and analysis, and research methodology, researchers have explored a wide variety of concepts related to the events of the pandemic, how these experiences impact other attitudes and risk perceptions, and future prospects.

Expertise and resources

Below you can find experts, research and media on the topic of crisis and conflict across different areas including health and wellbeing, community health, the environment, policy and behaviour change.



Nihan Albayrak updated

Dr Nihan Albayrak-Aydemir 

Visiting Fellow 

martin_bauer_200 x 200

Professor Martin Bauer

Professor in Social Psychology

Liam Delaney-200 x 200

Professor Liam Delaney

Professor in Behavioural Science, Head of Department (PBS)

Paul Dolan-Carl_Goodwin_Photography-200 x 200

Professor Paul Dolan

Professor in Behavioural Science

Matteo Galizzi_updated for 2022

Dr Matteo Galizzi

Associate Professor in Behavioural Science


Professor Jeremy Ginges

Professor in Behavioural Science


Dr Ilka Gleibs

Associate Professor in Social and Organisational Psychology

Sandra Jovchelovitch 200 x 200

Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch

Professor in Social Psychology



Dr Christian Krekel

Assistant Professor in Behavioural Science


Dr Dario Krpan

Assistant Professor


Professor Saadi Lahlou

Professor in Social Psychology


Jens Koed Madsen 2021_200x200

Dr Jens Madsen

Assistant Professor in Psychology

Michael Muthukrishna 200x200

Dr Michael Muthukrishna

Associate Professor in Economic Psychology


Dr Jet G. Sanders

Assistant Professor in Behavioural Science

Jennifer Sheehy Skeffington 200x200

Dr Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington

Associate Professor in Social Psychology


Dr Ganga Shreedhar

Assistant Professor in Behavioural Science

Miriam Tresh 2021

Dr Miriam Tresh

Assistant Professorial Lecturer


Selected publications

Hodges, J., Stoyanova, L., & Galizzi, M.M. (2023). End-of-life preferences: a randomised trial of framing comfort care as refusal of treatment in the context of COVID-19. Medical Decision Making, 43(6), 631-641. 

Sikveland, R.O., & Stokoe, E. (2023). A cry for “help”? How crisis negotiators overcome suicidal people’s resistance to offers of assistance. Journal of Language and Social Psychology,42 (5-6), 565-588.

Fonseca, L., & Jovchelovitch, S. (2023). The long hard road of reconciliation: Prefiguring cultures of peace through the transformation of representations of former combatants and identities of urban youth in ColombiaEuropean Journal of Social Psychology, 1-16. 

Sheehy-Skeffington, J., & Thomsen, L. (2023). Ideology as a Moral-Relational LanguagePsychological Inquiry, 34(1), 35-42. 

Stokoe, E., & Richardson, E. (2023). Asking for help without asking for help: How victims request and police offer assistance in cases of domestic violence when perpetrators are potentially co-present. Discourse Studies, 25 (3), 383-408.

Henwood, A., Rinck, M., & Krpan, D. (2023). Pandemic related changes in social interaction are associated with changes in automatic approach‑avoidance behaviourNature Scientific Reports, 13(4637). 

Haddington, P., & Stokoe, E. (2023.). Social interaction in high stakes crisis communication. Journal of Pragmatics, 208, 91-98.

Steinert, J.I., Sternberg, H., Prince, H., Fasolo, B., Galizzi, M.M., Büthe, T., & Veltri, G.A. (2022). COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in eight European countries: Prevalence, determinants, and heterogeneityScience Advances, 8(17), doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abm9825.

Galizzi, M.M., W. Lau, K., Miraldo, M., & Hauck, K. (2022), Bandwagoning, free-riding and heterogeneity in influenza vaccine decisions: an online experiment. Health Economics 31(4), 614-646.

Graso, M., Henwood, A., Aquino, K., Dolan, P., Chen, F X., (2022) The dark side of belief in Covid-19 scientists and scientific evidence.Personality and Individual Differences, 193, 111594, ISSN 0191-8869. 

Bosa, I., Castelli, A., Castelli, M., Ciani, O., Compagni, A., Galizzi, M.M., Garofano, M., Ghislandi, S., Giannoni, M., Marini, G., & Vainieri, M. (2022) Response to COVID-19: was Italy (un)prepared?Health Economics, Policy and Law.

McKee, M., Altmann, D., Costello, A., Friston, K., Haque, Z., Khunti, K., Michie, S., Oni, T., Pagel, C., Pillay, D., Reicher, S., Salisbury, H., Scally, G., Yates, K., Bauld, L., Bear, L., Drury, J., Parker, M., Phoenix, A., Stokoe, E., & West, R. (2022). Open science communication: The first year of the UK’s Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. Health Policy

Krpan, D., & Dolan, P. (2022). You Must Stay at Home! The Impact of Commands on Behaviors During COVID-19. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 13(1), 333-346. 

Sikveland, R.O., Kevoe-Feldman, H., & Stokoe (2022). Crisis talk: Negotiating with individuals in crisis. Routledge.

Stokoe, E., Sikveland, R.O., & Hamann, M.G.T. (2022). Preparing to talk: Behind-the-scenes planning between negotiators for subsequent communication with persons in crisis. Journal of Pragmatics, 191, 113-127

Bosa, I., Castelli, A., Castelli, M., Ciani, O., Compagni, A., Galizzi, M.M., Garofano, M., Ghislandi, S., Giannoni, M., Marini, G., & Vainieri, M. (2021). Corona-regionalism? Differences in regional responses to COVID-19 in ItalyHealth Policy.

Tresh, M. (2021, March 16). Amid Armed Conflict: Perceptions and the Psychological Impact of Covid-19 in Western Libya. PsyArXiv Preprints.

Guenther, B., Galizzi, M.M. and Sanders, J. (2021). Heterogeneity in risk-taking during the COVID-19 pandemic: evidence from the UK lockdown. Frontiers in Psychology, 12.

Wang, K., Goldenberg, A., Dorison, C.A., et al (2021). A multi-country test of brief reappraisal interventions on emotions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nat Hum Behav 5, 1089–1110.

Sanders, J.G., Spruijt, P., van Dijk, M., Elberse, J., Lambooij, M.S., Kroese, F.M., de Bruin, M. (2021). Understanding a national increase in COVID-19 vaccination intention, the Netherlands, November 2020–March 2021Eurosurveillance 26(36), 2100792.

Albayrak-Aydemir, N., & Gleibs, I.H. (2021), Measuring global bystander intervention and exploring its antecedents for helping refugees. Br. J. Psychol., 112: 519-548. 

Rudert, S. C., Gleibs, I. H., Gollwitzer, M., Häfner, M., Hajek, K. V., Harth, N. S., . . . Schneider, D. (2021). Us and the virus: Understanding the COVID-19 pandemic through a social psychological lens. European Psychologist, 26(4), 259-271.

Krekel, C., Swanke, S., De Neve, J., & Fancourt, D. (2020, July 29). Are Happier People More Compliant? Global Evidence From Three Large-Scale Surveys During Covid-19 Lockdowns. CEP.

Krpan, D., Makki, F., Saleh, N., Brink, S., & Klauznicer, H. (2020). When behavioural science can make a difference in times of COVID-19. Behavioural Public Policy, 1-27. 

Lades, L. K., Laffan, K., Daly, M., & Delaney, L. (2020). Daily emotional well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. British Journal of Health Psychology, 25(4), 902–911.

Shreedhar, G., & Mourato, S. (2020). Linking Human Destruction of Nature to COVID-19 Increases Support for Wildlife Conservation Policies. Environmental and Resource Economics, 76(4), 963–999.

Lau, K., Miraldo, M., Galizzi, M.M., & Hauck, K. (2019). Social norms and free-riding in influenza vaccine decisions in the UK: an online experiment. The Lancet, 394 (S65).

Projects and advisory boards

PERISCOPE (European Commission, Horizon 2020)

Project summary: Studying the behavioural aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic and policy responses.

Project lead (PBS): Dr Matteo M Galizzi.

Starting from the bottom: Using Participatory Action Research to re-imagine local mental health services in Colombia (STARS-C) 

Project summary: A partnership, jointly funded by Minciencias (Colombia) and ESRC/UKRI (UK), aims to build effective mental health provision in Colombian communities heavily affected by armed conflict and help build new roads to peace. 

Project lead (PBS): Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch 

National Institute for Health and Environment (RIVM), The Netherlands

Dr Jet G. Sanders.



Below are a number of event recordings, blogs and interviews with particular relevance to our research in crisis and conflict. 


The impact of Covid-19 on the Italian community in the UK: new evidence, insights, and recommendations (2020), Manifesto Di Londra, London. Read it here.

LSE event podcast recordings

Leveraging Moments of Change for Pro-Environmental Behavioural Transformation, 9 February 2022 (LSE public event). Listen again here.

Reconciliation Processes in Post-Conflict Societies: Colombia and Beyond, 5 October 2021 (LSE public event). Listen again here. 

Let's Talk Careers in a Post-COVID World, 16 February 2021 (LSE public event). Listen again here.

A Decade of Behavioural Science at LSE, 20 January 2021 (LSE public event). Listen again here.

Why Aren't Policy-Makers and the Public Demanding More Emphasis is Placed in Happiness? 9 December 2020 (LSE public event). Listen again here.

Behavioural Science and a post-COVID world, 4 November 2020 (LSE public event). Listen again here.

Re-Thinking Human Behaviour: critical perspectives on the psychology of COVID-19, 7 October 2020 (LSE Public event). Listen again here.

Behavioural Science in the Context of Great Uncertainty, 13 May 2020 (LSE public event). Listen again here.


Forgivness as a vehicle to improve wellbeing in post-conflict Colombia (20 October 2021), Sandra Jovchelovitch, Natalia Concha, Maria Cecilia Dedios. LSE LACC blog. Read it here

Who’s more relaxed about the risk of catching COVID – and are they habitual risk-takers? (11 August 2021), Madeline Quinlan, Benno Guenther, Matteo M. Galizzi, Jet G. Sanders. Read it here.

12 Days of Global Health: Why we should not forget what happened in Bergamo (15 December 2020), Matteo M. Galizzi. LSE Global Health. Read it here.

For the middle-aged, by the middle-aged: how the responses to COVID have ignored the preferences of those most affected (14 December 2020), Paul Dolan. LSE COVID-19 blog. Read it here.

Risk in the time of Covid-19: what do we know and not know? (3 June 2020), Matteo M. Galizzi, Benno Guenther, Maddie Quinlan, Jet G. Sanders. Economics Observatory. Read it here.

Bergamo’s response to the coronavirus pandemic (18 April 2020), Matteo M. Galizzi, Simone Ghislandi. Cambridge Core. Read it here.

Italy’s response to the coronavirus pandemic (16 April 2020), Matteo M. Galizzi et al. Cambridge Core blog. Read it here.

The Hidden Costs of Being a Scholar from the Global South (20 February 2020), Nihan Albayrak-Aydemir. LSE Higher Education blog. Read it here.

News & podcast

Why do people believe in conspiracy theories? 6 July 2021, LSEIQ podcast.

Volunteering in the NHS: Covid-19 Volunteer Responders Programme significantly increased volunteers' overall life satisfaction31 May 2021, via LSE News, ITV, The Times, the Daily Mail.

Did the UK government's direct messages during the early stages of the pandemic work?, 20 April 2021, via LSE News.

How to Give it in 2020, 7 December 2020, via the Financial Times.

Happier People Are More Likely to Comply with Lockdown Measures, 7 August 2020, via LSE News.

Support for Wildlife Conservation Boosted when COVID-19 is Linked to Destruction of Nature30 July 2020, via LSE News.

Why SAGE needs education experts as well as scientists, 6 July 2020, via TES.

Zoom Boom, 30 June 2020via the Human and the Machine podcast.

Blanket approach to increasing compliance with social distancing unhelpful, 9 June 2020, via LSE News.

The Cost of Saving Lives During This Lockdown is Too High, 5 May 2020, via The Telegraph.

Wellbeing Records at Lowest Since Records Began, 5 May 2020, via The Independent.

The Behavioural Science Behind the UK's Social Distancing Policy, 19 April 2020, via WIRED.

Why 'Physical Distancing' is Better than 'Social Distancing', 30 March 2020, via Aljazeera.