People who wear masks on their chin/neck are greater liars

Updated: May 9

Of the three kinds of people that exist in 2021, two - people who wear masks properly and people who don't wear them at all, are not very interesting. The former are doing what everyone should be and the latter will win their very own Darwin Awards someday. However, the third kind are rather perplexing. They wear masks on their face but don't bother to cover their noses and/or mouths with it. What's unique about these folks?

Well, a study done in Israel suggests that they are greater liars than others. Like many countries, Israel mandates wearing of masks in public and violators have to pay a hefty fine of 500 NIS ($ 146). Yossef Tobol et al. hypothesized that people who wear masks on their chin or neck were preparing for the contingency of running into the police - a situation they can lie out off (without paying a fine) by claiming that the mask accidentally slipped down.

To test this, the researchers measured how likely the three groups of people were to lie for money, using the 'die-under-the-cup (DUCT) task'. The task involves the participant rolling a fair die in private (in a cup) and then reporting it to the researcher. The participant gets paid a sum of money that is proportional to the number of dots shown on the die (as reported by the participant), thus incentivizing dishonest overreporting.

The researchers looked at average scores for each group and compared it with each other and with the expected score (3.5). The whole sample (N = 325) had a mean score of 4.38, indicating that people, in general have a tendency to lie during the task. People who wore their masks on the chin or neck (N =105) had a mean score of 4.91 which was significantly higher than scores of either of the other groups - 4.05 for people who wore masks properly (N = 113) and 4.21 for those who did not wear a mask at all (N = 107).

The findings suggest that people who wear masks improperly are greater liars than others and that they do so (to some extent) to avoid paying a fine. Read more about the study here.