Studies have shown that people are more likely to speed when wearing seatbelts. And insurance companies have even discovered that drivers actually become more reckless when there are more safety features on a car. This mentality may be one reason why so many people wearing face masks could even be detrimental in certain ways. They have convinced themselves that their face masks will protect them. So rather than reducing contact with the public as is suggested, people who are wearing face masks may actually become more likely to travel or interact with people. The herd mentality is real — and research shows that most of us jump on bandwagons. So the more you see other people wearing a face mask, the more likely you are to put one on. Researchers have known for a long time that people are susceptible to "behavioral mimicry," meaning we're quick to copy those around us. So whether you're walking through a marketplace, riding the subway, or sitting on a plane, the more people you see wearing face masks, the more likely you are to convince yourself that you should wear one, too. Not wearing one might even cause you to feel anxious. The mask-wearers are more visible than people who are taking recommended precautions (washing their hands more often and limiting travel). This can cause you to assume everyone is wearing a mask. It reduces our anxiety Most of us equate anxiety with risk level. If we feel really anxious, we reason that something must be really risky. And if we can reduce that anxiety, we'll convince ourselves that the level of risk we face is somehow lower. So even though we've been warned that wearing a face mask might be a bad idea, doing so might still have the effect of reducing anxiety. While it's up to you whether you decide to wear a mask, consider why you're doing it. Even though medical professionals might warn against it, you might find it gives you a little peace of mind — which isn't necessarily a bad thing.