There are few positives during the Covid-19 pandemic, but British academics may have discovered one: People look more attractive wearing protective masks.
Researchers at Cardiff University were surprised to find that both men and women were thought to look better when the lower half of their face was covered.
It could be a blow to makers of fashion coverings and the environment, who have also found that faces covered with disposable surgical masks may be considered the most attractive.
Reader and facial expert Dr Michael Lewis, from Cardiff University's School of Psychology, said research conducted before the pandemic found that medical masks were less attractive because they were linked to illness or disease.
"We wanted to test whether this has changed since face coverings have become ubiquitous and see if this type of mask has any impact," he said.
"Our research shows that faces wearing medical masks are considered the most attractive. This may be because we are used to healthcare workers wearing blue masks and now we associate these with people in the nursing or medical professions ... At times when we feel vulnerable, we may find it reassuring to wear a medical mask and therefore feel more positive about the wearer."
The first part of the study was conducted in February 2021, at a time when the British public had become accustomed to wearing masks in certain situations.Forty-three women were asked to rate the attractiveness of facial images of men without masks, plain cloth masks, blue medical masks and holding a plain black book covering the area on a scale of 1 to 10.will be hidden.
Participants said those who wore cloth masks were more attractive than those who didn't or whose faces were partially covered by a book.But surgical masks -- just a regular disposable mask -- make the wearer look better.
"The results run counter to pre-pandemic research, in which it was thought that wearing a mask would make people think of illness and that the person should be avoided," Lewis said.
"The pandemic has changed the way we look at people who wear masks. When we see someone wearing a mask, we no longer think 'that person is sick and I need to stay away'.
"This has to do with evolutionary psychology and why we choose our partners. Evidence of disease and disease can play an important role in mate selection - any clues to disease before would have been a big obstacle. Now we can observe that we Psychology has changed so that masks are no longer a clue to contamination."
Masks may also make people more attractive because they focus attention on the eyes, Lewis said.Other studies have found that covering the left or right half of the face also makes people look more attractive, in part because the brain fills in the missing gaps and exaggerates the overall impact, he said.
The results of the first study have been published in the journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications.A second study has been conducted in which a group of men looked at women wearing masks; it has not yet been released, but Lewis said the results were about the same.The researchers did not ask the participants to reveal their sexual orientation.
Post time: Feb-20-2022