PhD in the spotlight: Noelle Lebernegg

The Austrian Corona Panel Project

The current crisis has changed our everyday lives fundamentally, and many western democracies find themselves in situations unlike anything since the Second World War. However, most experts agree, to be able to return to some form of normality, we all must contribute to the containment of the virus – “Flatten the Curve!” became somewhat of a maxim in many affected countries.

However, the pandemic and the measures taken in this sense do not affect all citizens in the same way but come with different economic, social, and psychological effects. Some are struggling to balance paid work, housework, and childcare, while others are confronted with furlough or job loss, and thus coping with financial hardship and distress. Such varying degrees of concern, in turn, may as well influence citizens’ perception and acceptance of the measures taken and by that as well their willingness of compliance.

Against this background, the “Austrian Corona Panel Project”, a new research project at the University of Vienna, addresses questions regarding the development and effects of moods, attitudes, behaviors as well as the level of information amongst citizens. For this matter, together with an interdisciplinary team of researchers, we are addressing more general questions such as the identification of skeptics in the crisis as well as the alleged development of what we have called corona activism. As a communications student, I am furthermore interested in the role of media in the crisis, while a central focus of my work relates to the dissemination of and belief in disinformation during the crisis. (08.06.2020, Noelle Lebernegg)