With all due respect

I have enormous respect for research. It’s fundamental to better understanding why things happen and where we, as a profession (and a society), are headed. 

In fact, it’s no stretch to report that Peppercomm has conducted more primary research since January than we had in the past two decades combined. Our latest report, done in partnership with The Institute for Public Relations was just released today.

Sometimes, though, I stumble across research that either tells me what I already knew, seems beyond obvious or both.

The most recent case in point is a study conducted by WeiWei Zang, associate professor of psychology at the University of California Riverside.

As you’ll see, Zang’s survey of some 800 Americans revealed that “…people who social distance may be more intelligent.” Ya think?

Zang says the findings “…support (the fact that) policymakers will need to consider individuals’ general cognitive abilities when promoting compliance behavior.” Zang added that “…people who comply with social distancing (and wear masks) have better working memory capacity which is an indicator of intelligence.”  I’d add that those of us who do wear masks and do practice social distance don’t have a death wish.

Adding insult to irony, Zang advises that future public campaigns need to be “….succinct, concise and brief.” I’d include the word consistent since some would say we’ve been receiving very mixed messages virtually every day since the pandemic first reared its ugly head.

I’m hoping Dr. Zang follows up this study with another one that asks 800 Americans if partying over a long holiday weekend at, say, Lake of the Ozarks (without wearing masks or social distancing) is a good or bad idea.

With all due respect, I can’t wait to see what those findings reveal.


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