The psychology behind masks

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The psychology behind masks

What they say

Experts say that whether most people will wear masks depends largely on the rules that are in place. “The single biggest influence across all reason of face mask wearing appears to be the law,” said Ivo Vlaev, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Warwick. He cited data from Imperial College London’s Covid Behaviour Tracker, the largest rolling study of the societal impact of Covid-19 in the world.

A metro train in Italy, where mask wearing is required in most indoor spaces.

  • “(Mandating) a behavior helps send out the signal that it is important,” Williams added. “Mask wearing is a behavior that is really influenced by social norms — or peer pressure — and so in a setting where masks are no longer mandated, this might influence others not to wear theirs.”
  •  “This is well illustrated by the inflection point in the UK when compulsory mask wearing was announced,” Vlaev said, noting a quick pick-up in mask use last year, and an equally sudden drop since July when the rule was removed. According to the Office for National Statistics, nearly one in five Brits no longer say they wear a face covering outside their home, compared to just 4% in mid-June when they were still mandated

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