Can wearing an anti-COVID face mask bring any positive effects on social interactions? Based on objective self-awareness theory (OSA), our pilot experiment tested whether wearing an anti-COVID-19 face mask—a facial covering that should reduce self-focused attention—can predispose people to spontaneity in social interactions. Upon randomization (N = 91), participants were asked to either wear or not wear a mask while completing an online survey that assessed their willingness to be spontaneous in various imagined social situations (e.g., willingness to express ideas in public). As expected, participants who completed the survey while wearing a face mask reported higher levels of anticipated spontaneity, declaring they would have been more willing to express their ideas in the proposed interactions than those who did not wear a mask. Results support the hypothesis that anti-COVID face masks reduce objective self-awareness by drawing others’ focus away from the person’s face. This effect seems to eventually encourage people’s propensity to spontaneity and ideas’ expression in social interactions. Implications concerning both positive and negative potential consequences of this effect, as well as possible directions for deepening the study of social effects of anti-COVID measures and further testing the theory of objective self-awareness, are discussed.

Wearing an Anti-COVID Face Mask Predisposes to Spontaneity and Ideas’ Expression in Social Interactions: Findings from a Pilot Experiment / Perini, M.; Sciara, S.. - In: TRENDS IN PSYCHOLOGY. - ISSN 2358-1883. - 30:4(2022), pp. 718-728. [10.1007/s43076-021-00139-2]

Wearing an Anti-COVID Face Mask Predisposes to Spontaneity and Ideas’ Expression in Social Interactions: Findings from a Pilot Experiment

Sciara S.
Secondo
Conceptualization
2022-01-01

Abstract

Can wearing an anti-COVID face mask bring any positive effects on social interactions? Based on objective self-awareness theory (OSA), our pilot experiment tested whether wearing an anti-COVID-19 face mask—a facial covering that should reduce self-focused attention—can predispose people to spontaneity in social interactions. Upon randomization (N = 91), participants were asked to either wear or not wear a mask while completing an online survey that assessed their willingness to be spontaneous in various imagined social situations (e.g., willingness to express ideas in public). As expected, participants who completed the survey while wearing a face mask reported higher levels of anticipated spontaneity, declaring they would have been more willing to express their ideas in the proposed interactions than those who did not wear a mask. Results support the hypothesis that anti-COVID face masks reduce objective self-awareness by drawing others’ focus away from the person’s face. This effect seems to eventually encourage people’s propensity to spontaneity and ideas’ expression in social interactions. Implications concerning both positive and negative potential consequences of this effect, as well as possible directions for deepening the study of social effects of anti-COVID measures and further testing the theory of objective self-awareness, are discussed.
2022
Coronavirus
COVID-19
Face mask
Objective self-awareness
Social interaction
Spontaneity
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11768/142361
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