Psychology behind why people refuse to wear masks in public

You would think that after months of reading about the coronavirus, seeing the death statistics in the news and experiencing the crisis would scare almost anyone into wearing masks in public. However, it seems that some people seem to be not shaken by the coronavirus and refuse to wear masks in public. They endanger themselves as well as others. Health experts say that they are driven by strong psychological factors that make them refuse to wear masks in public. Let us see what those are.

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Psychological explanation #1: Some people are in Denial

In times of crisis like this, many psychological defences will arise to help us cope. Denial is an extremely powerful defence mechanism. When we can’t handle the depth and seriousness of a situation, denial automatically kicks in. Denial then leads to avoidance and then leads to not accepting the facts and reality. This in turn leads to individuals not following the safety measures. This might be the root of some people’s refusal to wear a mask in public.

Psychological explanation #2: Conflicting messages confuse people

According to health experts, the conflicting messages in the media and from the people in positions of authority such as government officials and celebrities could be making people unsure of whether to wear a mask or not. Since messages lose credibility when they are presented as fact one day, only to be described as a hoax the day, people get confused and eventually ditch the mask.

Psychological explanation #3: Wearing masks make them feel powerless

Some people just can’t cope up with the new normal and they want to go back to their previous lifestyle as soon as possible. Even though the pandemic isn’t over, they want to move on and have control over their lives again, the way they used to. In such cases, following the safety measures such as wearing masks in public, makes them think that they don’t have power over their lives. Since face masks have become a symbol of COVID-19, some people have a strong sense to reject it, thinking that refusing to wear masks in public puts them in control.

Psychological explanation #4: Some people just don’t want to be team players

Some people refuse to wear masks in public just because of their thoughtlessness and selfishness. They simply refuse to be team players and don’t see the benefit of doing a simple task for the greater good, even if it is a little inconvenient. This might be another form of defence mechanism where they feel that they want to be unique so that they wouldn’t get cut off from others. So, they refuse to wear masks in public.

Psychological explanation #5: They just underestimate the threat

One simple psychological explanation of why some people refuse to wear masks in public is that they just underestimate the threat. They do not understand the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also rely on the idea that bad things are more likely to happen to other people than oneself. This is called ‘optimism bias’. This mentality can play a role in making them ignore safety precautions like wearing a mask in public.

Read more:What does the term ‘Covidiot’ mean?

Wearing a mask in public is an important part of helping to curb the spread of novel coronavirus, but still, some people refuse to wear masks in public. Keep in mind that this not only boosts your risk of COVID-19 but also makes you a Covidiot. So, always wear a mask when you’re out in public and play your part in saving the world!