To find out how the presence of a conventional medical mask affects the perception of appearance, scientists from Cardiff University conducted two experiments in February 2021, when the mask mode became the norm. 43 women participated in the first experiment. They were shown a series of photographs of male faces: unmasked, wearing simple cloth and medical masks, and holding a book that covered the lower part of the face. Participants were asked to rate the attractiveness of each man on a scale of 1 to 10. The same experiment was then conducted with men who rated the attractiveness of women with and without different masks.
The results were very surprising to the researchers: both women and men found the most attractive people of the opposite sex in photographs with masks. This data contradicts numerous studies before the pandemic, which showed that a person in a medical mask causes rejection, because he is associated with the disease and you want to stay away from him.
“Obviously, the pandemic has changed our perception. Now, when we see someone wearing a mask, we no longer think about the disease. Now we can see a shift in evolutionary psychology – the face mask no longer serves as a signal of the danger of infection, ”The Guardian quotes Dr. Michael Lewis, co-author of the study.
The expert believes that the mask makes a person more attractive, since the attention of others is focused on the eyes, and our brain has the ability to “finish” the hidden parts of the face, exaggerating its dignity. In addition, medical masks are now directly associated with medical professionals, whose image has grown significantly during the pandemic.
Recall that masks are, first of all, a reliable way to protect yourself from coronavirus infection. The largest international review of 72 studies found that this simple preventive measure reduces the chance of contracting COVID-19 by 53%.