Résilience - COVID-19 - Résilience - Coronavirus disease 2019

Reducing Risk Compensation – GERICO

Submission summary

A series of studies converge in the finding that, during the Covid-19 emergency, compliance with the mandate to wear a face mask generally leads to lower compliance with the recommendation to keep a minimal physical distance from others. In the present state of knowledge, we know that this form of risk compensation occurs but we lack a proper understanding of why it occurs. GeRICO’s scientific aim is to explain the distance-reducing effect of the face mask. From a public policy perspective, GeRICO’s applied aim is to issue recommendations to attenuate the risk-compensatory effects of the co-existence of a face mask mandate with the one-meter rule. Bringing together concepts and methods from sociology, psychology, political science and linguistics, the proposal puts to test two candidate mechanisms: 1) people may approach more when the mask is worn because of a “false sense of security” (operationalized as a risk perception); 2) people may approach more in the presence of the covering because the face mask, by attenuating the voice, degrades speech intelligibility. Further, the project investigates whether gender, social status and perceived ethnicity moderate the distance-reducing effects of the mask. Methodologically, GERICO relies on an original and complementary combination of field, online and virtual-reality experiments.

Project coordination

Martin Aranguren (Unité de Recherches Migrations et Sociétés)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


URMIS Unité de Recherches Migrations et Sociétés
CEVIPOF Centre de recherches politiques de Sciences Po
ScaLab Laboratoires sciences cognitives et sciences affectives
LLF Laboratoire de linguistique formelle

Help of the ANR 79,040 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: May 2021 - 12 Months

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