Personal Spaces and Masks (09-07-21)

Lee and Chen’s work indicates that face masks may influence distances people keep from each other.  Lee and Chen report that via data collected through an online survey they found that “A smaller IPS [interpersonal space] was observed when participants faced confederates wearing surgical masks than in the no-mask condition. Female dyads tended to maintain a smaller IPS than did both male and mixed-sex dyads, and Taiwanese participants maintained a significantly larger IPS than did Mainland Chinese participants. . . . When facing a confederate who did not wear a face mask, the participants tended to maintain a larger IPS. . . . Taiwanese participants maintained the longest distance from a confederate without a face mask, whereas the Mainland Chinese participants maintained the shortest distance when encountering a masked confederate.”

Yu-Chi Lee and Yi-Lang Chen. 2021.  “Influence of Wearing Surgical Mask on Interpersonal Space Perception Between Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese People.”  Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, 692404,