Prof's article: Why people react to mask-wearing

Heidelberg marketing professor Dr. Salil Khetani and a counterpart in India have had an article published in the mainstream Indian newspaper The Hindu Business Line. The article addresses how to overcome mask reactance.

Salil and his co-author, Anuj Kapoor, explain that reactance occurs when we feel our freedom is being suppressed by an authority and to reassert our freedom, we act in the opposite direction to what the authority dictates.

Their topic is particularly timely in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic and various orders that make the wearing of masks mandatory as a frontline tool in helping to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus across communities.

They say the wearing of masks vs. not wearing them is a catch-22 situation, and in the article, they explain their rationale for this assessment. They examine the psychological factors associated with reactance and offer suggestions such as reframing messages and getting creative to acknowledge people’s “agency” to choose for themselves. 

You can read the entire article, titled Overcoming Mask Reactance, here.

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