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The Psychology of Pandemic Consciousness

On December 21, the symposium was held on theoretical and empirical studies of the problem coping with the coronavirus pandemic (the online event was held on the ZOOM platform).

The symposium was organized within the framework of a grant provided by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation (Grant Agreement No. 075-15-2020-928). The purpose of this intercollegiate scientific symposium was to present the results of the research carried out, to organize a scientific discussion and to intensify the integration of efforts in the study of pandemic consciousness.

The symposium was attended by scientists from the Higher School of Economics, partners from the Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, NR TSU, and foreign scientists associated with the Higher School of Economics.Leontiev D.A. was the speaker of the symposium. (Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Head of the International Laboratory of Positive Psychology of Personality and Motivation, National Research University Higher School of Economics).

The work of the symposium was opened by A. Asmolov. (Doctor of Psychology, Head of the Department of Personality Psychology at Lomonosov Moscow State University, Head of the School of Anthropology of the Future RANEPA, Research Professor at the Higher School of Economics), who highlighted a number of topical issues for psychological science. First of all, this is a change in psycholinguistic reality caused by a pandemic, in particular, reflected in the title of the symposium. The question is whether language changes our consciousness, or whether consciousness is loosely defined by language. In addition, Alexander Grigorievich touched upon the problem of the social construction of fear and anxiety against the background of a pandemic - an "infodemic" containing transformations that can be imposed on consciousness in a crisis situation. Thus, the question arises of how the programs for mastering, coping with the crisis are built at different management levels.

Also, Asmolov drew attention to the problem of reconstructing prospects in the current conditions, both at the socio-global and at the individual-personal levels; on the emerging image of society as a “collective patient”, endowing consciousness with an internal picture of the disease, which also constructs a new reality - a “new normality”; to the problem of the formation of an avoidant and pre-adaptive style of response to the changes that have occurred, which raises the question of how psychologists can help society in developing sensitivity to changes and their understanding. Thus, the psychology of uncertainty and the psychology of complexity come to the fore today, there is a shift from the paradigm of human capital to the paradigm of human potential and from actual to predictive diagnostics. Under the current conditions, it is necessary to change the formulation of the semantic attitude of behavior from the position of waiting to the position “not to wait, but to live”.

A welcoming speech was also made by the representative of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research of Human Potential, O. Voron (Candidate of Philology, Associate Professor, Advisor to the Institute for Social Policy, National Research University Higher School of Economics)

The scientific program of the symposium consisted of 10 key reports by scientists: from the HSE, from the Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, NI TSU, and foreign scientists associated with the HSE. All reports summarized the current state of the problem.

This symposium made it possible to establish the importance of taking into account the perception of changes during a pandemic, not only as negative, but also as positive - finding resources and opportunities. Personal potential acts as a system of resources that promotes effective self-regulation, coping with stress and maintaining well-being in a pandemic situation.

The theoretical and empirical results of the work done make a significant contribution to the development of ideas about the psychological resources of the individual, which play a critical role in coping with the negative psychological consequences of situations of multiple crisis uncertainty, in particular the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the work done, it is possible to build new hypotheses about the aspects of personal potential that are manifested in conditions of pandemic uncertainty.

Summing up the work of the symposium, D.A. Leontyev noted: “The idea, the concept of the symposium, in my opinion, was a success. We met and unite in a common approach to the phenomenon of pandemic consciousness. Our research shows that it is important to shift the center of activity and expectations from government agencies to specific people, their consciousness, their meanings, people's ability to cooperate with each other and find solutions to the problems we are faced with. "