Distancing and masks - psychological impact

I am glad to hear the First Minister use the term "physical distancing" instead of "social distancing" Why? Because the word "social" has strong connotations of caring about others and about the greater good of society. Therefore "social distancing" sends out all the wrong message and it will influence people's behaviour even if sub-consciously, On the other hand, "physical distancing" is merely a sensible thing to do while in a pandemic. Masks: Apart from depriving us from joys like the scent of flowers and seeing others smile, face masks have the effect of making us anonymous. There is ample evidence that anonymity causes what might be called "moral distancing" and that it makes people more likely to be inhumane and cruel towards each other. I accept that masks may have to be imposed as a temporary measure to curb the spread of Covid-19, However I would argue for keeping the duration as short as possible. Otherwise we run the risk of de-humanising our society to the extent that living with each other may feel worse than living with the threat of the virus.

Why the contribution is important

The use of distancing and face coverings will cause social-psychological changes in society. Taking this into account may help shape policies to minimise negative effects.

by Ro2 on May 08, 2020 at 10:35PM

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