Wear a mask to look attractive
They have published a new study that shows that protective masks make the wearer look more attractive.
The study measured how different types of masks changed the attractiveness of 40 male faces.
They discovered that the covering material – blue medical masks are more effective in increasing facial attractiveness than other masks.
Dr Michael Lewis, a reader from Cardiff University’s school of psychology and an expert in the psychology of the face, said: “Research done before the pandemic shows that surgical masks reduce attractiveness – so we wanted to see if this has changed since face masks didn’t become popular, and understand if masks would have any effect.
“Our research shows that the face is considered the most attractive when covered by a medical mask. This may be because we are used to medical staff wearing blue masks and are now we associate these faces with people in care or healthcare professions.At a time when we feel vulnerable, we may find it more reassuring to wear a medical mask and so, the wearer will feel more positive.
“We also found that faces were considered significantly more attractive when covered by a cloth mask than when not. Some of these effects could be attributed to possibly masking unwanted features. in the lower part of the face – but this effect was present in both the less attractive and the more attractive.”
In the study, 43 female participants rated the attractiveness of images of men without masks; wear a cloth mask; blue medical mask and hold a plain black book that covers the area the mask will cover, on a scale of one to 10.
The study was carried out in February 2021, seven months after face masks became mandatory in the UK.
Dr Lewis said: “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.
“Current research shows that the pandemic has changed our mentality in the way people see masks. When we see someone wearing a mask, we no longer think ‘that person is sick, I need it. must stay away’.
“This has to do with evolutionary psychology and why we choose mates. Illness and evidence of disease can play a big role in mate selection – before any indications were made. We can now see a change in our mentality so that masks no longer act as a signal of pollution.”
Further studies are underway with female and male participants to see if the results hold for both sexes.