About the Acceptance of Wearing Face Masks in Times of a Pandemic

i-Perception 2021, Vol. 12(3), 1–14; https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/20416695211021114

14 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2020 Last revised: 3 Jun 2021

See all articles by Claus-Christian Carbon

Claus-Christian Carbon

University of Bamberg, Department of General Psychology and Methodology; Geomedi University

Date Written: April 24, 2020


Wearing face masks in times of COVID-19 is one of the essential keystones for effectively decreasing the rate of new infections and thus for mitigating the negative consequences for individuals as well as for society. Acceptance of wearing masks is still low in many countries, making it extremely difficult to keep the pandemic at bay. In an experimental study, participants (N=88) had to assess how strange they felt when wearing a face mask while being exposed to displays of groups of varying numbers of mask wearers. Three different types of face masks were shown: simple homemade masks, FFP2 masks and loop scarfs. The higher the frequency of people wearing masks in the displayed social group, the less strange participants felt about themselves, an essential precondition for accepting wearing masks. This effect of a descriptive social norm was particularly effective when people saw others wearing less intrusive masks, here: simple homemade masks.

Funding. None

Note: Funding: There was no specific funding available for this research.

Conflict of Interest: We declare no competing interests.

Ethical Approval: The general study design (psychophysical testing) was given ethical approval by the local ethics committee of the University of Bamberg.

Keywords: perceived strangeness, social acceptance, COVID-19, virus, face masks, psychology, pandemic

Suggested Citation

Carbon, Claus-Christian, About the Acceptance of Wearing Face Masks in Times of a Pandemic (April 24, 2020). i-Perception 2021, Vol. 12(3), 1–14; https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/20416695211021114, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3584834 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3584834

Claus-Christian Carbon (Contact Author)

University of Bamberg, Department of General Psychology and Methodology ( email )

Markusplatz 3
Bamberg, Bavaria 96047
+49 951 863-1860 (Phone)
+49 951 863-1848 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.uni-bamberg.de/allgpsych/

Geomedi University ( email )


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