Can culture beat Covid-19? Evidence that exposure to facemasks with cultural symbols increases solidarity

Perach, R. and Limbu, M. 2022. Can culture beat Covid-19? Evidence that exposure to facemasks with cultural symbols increases solidarity. British Journal of Social Psychology. 61 (3), pp. 991-1010. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12521

TitleCan culture beat Covid-19? Evidence that exposure to facemasks with cultural symbols increases solidarity
TypeJournal article
AuthorsPerach, R. and Limbu, M.
Abstract

Facemasks have become integral to everyday life. We propose that exposure to facemasks with a solidarity-related cultural symbol can activate cultural values such as mutual trust and increase corresponding interpersonal perceptions, thereby enhancing collective resilience in the Covid-19 pandemic. In three (two of which preregistered) studies, we examined whether exposure to facemasks with a solidarity-related cultural symbol predicts positive interpersonal perceptions, and whether this depends on death awareness. Across studies, exposure to facemasks with a cultural symbol (either pride flag or National Health Service) increased positive interpersonal perceptions, an index of solidarity, in people for whom this symbol represents a meaningful social identity. This was found whether participants were reminded of death, a neutral experience, or a negative experience. Importantly, in Study 3, exposure to facemasks with a solidarity-related cultural symbol (vs. surgical) led to greater increases in positive interpersonal perceptions when death awareness was high. Together, our findings suggest that wearing facemasks with a cultural symbol that relates to solidarity can be a vehicle for shaping people's personality impressions of others. Applied directions for the activation of people's social identities via facemask selection to promote collective resilience in the Covid-19 pandemic are discussed.

JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Journal citation61 (3), pp. 991-1010
Year2022
PublisherBritish Psychological Society
Publisher's version
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12521
Web address (URL)https://bpspsychub.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bjso.12521
Publication dates
Published online25 Jan 2022
PublishedJul 2022

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