COVID-19: Face masks make people more attractive, study finds | UK News

Face masks may have been among the most controversial issues of the COVID-19 pandemic, but those hesitant to wear one may change their minds now that academics have discovered that people actually look more attractive when wearing one.

Yes, we know they cover half of your face, but a team of experts from Cardiff University have found that wearing a mask, specifically a blue medical mask, increases the attractiveness of your face .

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Dr Michael Lewis, from the university’s School of Psychology and an expert in the psychology of faces, said that before the pandemic, research had found that medical face masks reduced attractiveness.

His team wanted to see if the “ubiquitous” use of face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 since 2020 has changed people’s perceptions of those who wear them.

The study measured how different types of face masks changed the attractiveness of 40 male faces.

A group of women were asked to rate the attractiveness of images of maskless male faces, wearing a cloth mask, a blue medical mask, and holding a black book covering the area a mask would conceal, on a scale of one to 10.

The research was carried out in February 2021, seven months after face masks became mandatory in the UK.

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What did the study find?

Dr Lewis said: “Our study suggests that faces are considered most attractive when covered by medical masks. This may be because we are used to healthcare workers wearing masks. blue and that we now associate them with caregivers or medical people.

“At a time when we feel vulnerable, we may find wearing medical masks reassuring and therefore feel more positive towards the wearer.

“We also found that faces are considered to be significantly more attractive when covered with cloth masks than when uncovered.

“Part of this effect may be the result of the ability to hide unwanted features in the lower part of the face – but this effect was present for both the less attractive and the more attractive people.”

A portrait of a young man standing outdoors on a city street wearing a protective mask while looking at the camera.  It protects against COVID-19.
Picture:
Men wearing blue medical masks were deemed the most attractive. File Picture

Dr Lewis added: “Current research shows that the pandemic has changed our psychology in how we perceive mask wearers. When we see someone wearing a mask, we no longer think ‘that person has a disease,’ I have to stay away”.

“It’s about evolutionary psychology and why we select the mates we choose. Disease and evidence of disease can play a big role in mate selection – previously any sign of disease would be a big annoyance. Now , we can observe a shift in our psychology so that face masks no longer act as a signal of contamination.”

The university now plans to conduct research to see if the same results occur with female faces.

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