CARDIFF, United Kingdom (StudyFinds.org) – Do masks really help some people in the dating scene? As well as helping to limit the spread of COVID-19, researchers from Cardiff University found masks can actually make wearers look more attractive.
Scientists assessed how different types of masks “changed attractiveness” in a group of 40 men. That process leads to the conclusion that blue medical masks increase the appeal to the wearer the most. So maybe grab a few of them before your next date night!
“Research done before the pandemic found that surgical masks reduce attractiveness – so we wanted to see if this has changed since face coverings became widespread and find out if this kind of mask has any effect,” Dr Michael Lewis, from Cardiff’s School of Psychology and an expert in the psychology of the face, in a university release.
“Our research shows that faces are considered the most attractive when Cover your face with a medical mask. This may be because we are used to healthcare workers wearing blue masks and now we associate these people with people in care or healthcare professions. At a time when we feel vulnerable, we may find wearing a surgical mask more reassuring and therefore more positive for the wearer. “
“We also found the faces considered significantly more attractive when covered by a cloth mask than when not covered. Some of these effects may be the result of being able to hide unwanted features in the lower part of the face – but this effect was present for both less attractive and more attractive people,” adds the researcher.
Pandemic changes the perception of people wearing masks
To assess attraction43 women rated each man’s face in 4 situations: not wearing a mask, wearing a cloth mask, when wearing a blue medical mask, and when holding a plain black book covering the area, the mask would cover. Women rank attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 10.
“The results run counter to pre-pandemic research, where it was assumed that masks made people think about illness and that the person should be avoided,” Dr Lewis noted. “Current research shows that the pandemic has changed our mentality in the way we see masked people. When we see someone wearing a mask, we no longer think ‘that person is sick, I need to stay away’. “
“This has to do with evolutionary psychology and why we choose the partners that we do. Illness and evidence of illness can play an important role in mate selection – in the past any sign of illness would be a big variation. We can now observe a change in our mentality such that masks no longer act as a signal of pollution,” concludes Lewis.
The team notes that they undertook this work in February 2021, about seven months after face masks became mandatory in the UK. Further research is underway to examine how masks affect the attractiveness of women’s faces.
The detect appeared in the magazine Principles and implications of cognitive research.
https://www.yourbasin.com/news/youre-cute-i-think-face-masks-are-making-people-appear-more-attractive/ ‘You’re cute, I think’: Masks are making people look more attractive