Wearing Face Masks Strongly Confuses Counterparts in Reading Emotions




Faculty/Professorship: General Psychology and Methodology  
Author(s): Carbon, Claus-Christian  
Publisher Information: Bamberg : Otto-Friedrich-Universität
Year of publication: 2020
Volume: 11
Issue: 566886
Pages: 8
Source/Other editions: Frontiers in psychology, 11 (2020), 8 S. - ISSN: 1664-1078
is version of: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.566886
Year of first publication: 2020
Language(s): English
Licence: Creative Commons - CC BY - Attribution 4.0 International 
Abstract: 
Wearing face masks is one of the essential means to prevent the transmission of certain respiratory diseases such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Although acceptance of such masks is increasing in the Western hemisphere, many people feel that social interaction is affected by wearing a mask. In the present experiment, we tested the impact of face masks on the readability of emotions. The participants (N = 41, calculated by an a priori power test; random sample; healthy persons of different ages, 18–87 years) assessed the emotional expressions displayed by 12 different faces. Each face was randomly presented with six different expressions (angry, disgusted, fearful, happy, neutral, and sad) while being fully visible or partly covered by a face mask. Lower accuracy and lower confidence in one’s own assessment of the displayed emotions indicate that emotional reading was strongly irritated by the presence of a mask. We further detected specific confusion patterns, mostly pronounced in the case of misinterpreting disgusted faces as being angry plus assessing many other emotions (e.g., happy, sad, and angry) as neutral. We discuss compensatory actions that can keep social interaction effective (e.g., body language, gesture, and verbal communication), even when relevant visual information is crucially reduced.
Keywords: emotion, face masks, accuracy, confusion, COVID-19, pandemic, mouth
Type: Article
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/49218
Release Date: 21. December 2020
Project: Open-Access-Publikationsfonds 2012-2020

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