Attribution bias may fool you into thinking that you don’t need to wear a mask during the Covid-19 pandemic. You do.

In a previous article on attribution bias, I wrote how this cognitive fallacy can cause issues in relationships. When we place significant importance on our most recent memory or an event that has a lot of emotional weight, it can cause us to have difficulties working with our partner to come up with solutions.

Here’s how attribution bias may be impacting you if you aren’t wearing a mask. Let’s say that your most recent memory is that you don’t know anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19.  Therefore, you think that you are “safe” and don’t need to wear a mask. You may also have strong feelings about not wanting to feel like someone is telling you what to do. The most recent news story you saw that made you upset was about a city giving a mandate to residents that they needed to wear a mask to slow the spread of Covid-19.

So you decide not to wear a mask. You feel you are making a “statement” about individual freedoms, and you don’t know anyone that has Covid-19 anyway. So attribution bias tells you it’s not that big of a deal. Plus you have leaders telling you that Covid-19 not a big deal, they’re not going to wear masks and that there are just more positive tests just because more people are getting tested (this has been proven to be a false statement). But these cognitive fallacies can cause you or your loved ones to become very sick.

Here’s where attribution bias comes in: