My colleagues Josh Bullock, Justin Lane, Igor Mikloušić and I have just had a paper on “Modeling Nationalism, Religiosity, and Threat Perception during the COVID-19 Pandemic” published in PLOS ONE.

It is open access and can be read or downloaded here.

Abstract: The rise of nationalism and populism in Europe has created significant political and policy challenges. Understanding and addressing these challenges will require attention to the psychological mechanisms and social dynamics that have engendered and promoted these societal shifts. This article presents the results of two new empirical studies that attempt to shed light on the relationships between nationalism, religiosity, national and religious identification, threat perception, and sentiment toward different groups. Informed by identity fusion theory and moral foundations theory, Study 1 collected and analyzed survey data on these topics. Study 2 utilized the results of Study 1 to construct a system dynamics model in which causal propositions and links are added to the variables, creating an artificial society within which hypotheses about these dynamics can be tested. Both the survey and the simulation suggest that nationalism and religion are affected by the same variables. As such, religion might not be a cause of nationalism (or nationalism the cause of religion), but they could be correlated because of mutual causation.