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Study: Sociopaths are Less Likely to Follow Mask Wearing, Social Distancing Guidelines

Nearly every industrialized nation in the world has been able to get a handle on the COVID-19 pandemic. While cases in the United States have gone down slightly, the country has still averaged nearly 1,000 deaths each day in the month of August.

donald trump to wear mask
[Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images]
Brazil, like the United States, has had trouble getting a handle on the virus. Like Donald Trump, Brazil’s leader Jair Bolsonaro has not pushed citizens to wear masks and he hasn’t promoted social distancing measures. Doctors in the country have also studied why some people have refused to follow guidelines. They found that sociopaths are much less likely to wear masks to protect others.

According to the authors of the study, “Our findings indicated that antisocial traits, especially lower levels of empathy and higher levels of Callousness, Deceitfulness, and Risk-taking, are directly associated with lower compliance with containment measures.”

The researchers concluded, “Our findings indicated that antisocial traits, especially lower levels of empathy and higher levels of Callousness, Deceitfulness, and Risk-taking, are directly associated with lower compliance with containment measures. These traits explain, at least partially, the reason why people continue not adhering to the containment measures even with increasing numbers of cases and deaths.”

The authors of the study also felt that these findings can help inform policy in regards to future epidemics. “Our findings can be useful for public health policies, e.g., through screenings that demonstrate an elevation in these traits, interventions can be carried out aiming at greater awareness and consequent compliance with containment measures. We suggest that further studies be carried out investigating the interaction of these traits with other variables.”



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