March 24th, 2020


Adjunct Economics Professor, College of William & Mary

Whitmore-Williams Professor of Psychology, College of Wooster

Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business



Why does an invisible, life-threatening virus prompt a nationwide emergency, but invisible, life-threatening gases don’t? Experts have been emphasizing the dangers of unchecked climate change for years, underscoring the need for rapid, bold action early-on to avoid the worst impacts. Now, health experts are pushing the same level of global mobilization to quell the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Why are humans wired to respond to some fears and emergencies more than others? Can the reaction to the Coronavirus pandemic teach us anything about how humans respond to other invisible, worldwide threats? A conversation with Peter Atwater, adjunct economics professor at the College of William & Mary, Susan Clayton, Whitmore-Williams Professor of Psychology at the College of Wooster, and Robert Frank, economics professor at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and author of Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work.