Perceptions of persons who wear face coverings are modulated by the perceivers’ attitude

Faculty/Professorship: General Psychology and Methodology  ; Personality Psychology and Psychological Assessment  
Author(s): Carbon, Claus-Christian  ; Leder, Johannes  ; Koßmann, Lisa
Title of the Journal: Frontiers in Neuroscience
ISSN: 1662-453X
Corporate Body: Frontiers Research Foundation
Publisher Information: Lausanne
Year of publication: 2022
Volume: 16
Pages: 1-16
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2022.988546
We examined if the effect of facial coverings on person perception is influenced by the perceiver’s attitudes. We used two online experiments in which participants saw the same human target persons repeatedly appearing with and without a specific piece of clothing and had to judge the target persons’ character. In Experiment 1 (N = 101), we investigated how the wearing of a facial mask influences a person’s perception depending on the perceiver’s attitude toward measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. In Experiment 2 (N = 114), we examined the effect of wearing a head cover associated with Arabic culture on a person’s perception depending on the perceiver’s attitude toward Islam. Both studies were preregistered; both found evidence that a person’s perception is a process shaped by the personal attitudes of the perceiver as well as merely the target person’s outward appearance. Integrating previous findings, we demonstrate that facial covers, as well as head covers, operate as cues which are used by the perceivers to infer the target persons’ underlying attitudes. The judgment of the target person is shaped by the perceived attitude toward what the facial covering stereotypically symbolizes.
GND Keywords: Interpersonale Wahrnehmung; Soziale Wahrnehmung; Kopfbedeckung; Mund-Nasen-Schutz; COVID-19
Keywords: head cover, facial mask, COVID-19, attractiveness, prosociality, social attitude, theory of mind, hijab
DDC Classification: 150 Psychology  
RVK Classification: CP 2500   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Open Access Journal: Ja
Type: Article
Release Date: 9. February 2023
Project: Open-Access-Publikationskosten 2022 - 2024