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Understanding Pandemic Uncertainty: Ashoka Research Wins M.B Sharan Best Paper Award

Dr Sramana Majumdar’s research on COVID-19 won the best paper at the annual convention of the National Academy of Psychology

Office of PR & Communications

26 March, 2024 | 5m read

The Department of Psychology at Ashoka University, represented by Drs Simantini Ghosh, Sramana Majumdar, Annie Baxie, and Ph.D. scholars Mohona Roy and Maitreyee Sen, participated in the 33rd Annual Convention of the National Academy of Psychology (NAOP), organised by the Gandhi Institute of Technology and Management, Visakhapatnam.

Dr Majumdar’s paper on ‘Embodied Uncertainty through the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Longitudinal Mixed-Method Study‘ was nominated for and won the prestigious M.B. Sharan Best Paper Award at the convention. Dr Girishwar Mishra, who chaired the scientific committee, presented the award, mentioning that the paper was selected out of 32 initial submissions for this category.

This research, spanning three years of qualitative interviews and survey data, examined the lived experiences of the pandemic and the meanings of uncertainty as embodied in that experience. The paper starts with the simple question, “How do we describe and measure uncertainty as lived and experienced in an unprecedented health emergency?” and looks at individual coping, dynamics of stigma and sharedness, trust in state action, and information consumption during this time. The second part of the study aims to propose a measurable comprehensive framework to assess dimensions of uncertainty in similar health emergencies. The work is currently under review for publication. Several Ashoka undergraduate and MLS students made significant contributions to this research from 2020 to 2022.

The team also organised a symposium on Gender Identity and Gender-based Violence in Contemporary India: A Social Psychological Lens, which included engaged discussions around papers on domestic violence and trauma, online social identity performance, the growth of the ‘manosphere’, and a critical review of literature on sexual violence in India. Some of these papers are part of larger Ph.D. research projects being undertaken at the department.

Sharing her experience, Prof. Majumdar said, “The convention was organised by GITAM University, which boasts a wonderful location by the Rushikonda beach in Visakhapatnam. In addition to savouring the many local delicacies, the proximity to the beach and the sea view further enhanced the experience. The beach was clean, the air fresh, and the weather perfect for our three-day stay at the convention.”

The National Academy of Psychology is a three-decade-old meeting ground for academics, practitioners, and scholars across India. The academy also publishes one of India’s leading psychology journals, Psychological Studies. It was deeply encouraging for Prof. Majumdar to receive appreciation and encouragement for her paper and the interest it sparked among peers. Overall, the event proved to be an excellent networking platform, enabling the team to showcase the research they are doing at Ashoka University and connect with potential collaborators and senior psychologists for future endeavours. The department hopes to attend future conventions of NAOP and develop stronger networks with academics in psychology across the country.

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