Want to look more attractive? Then wear a face mask, says new study

0
look more attractive
Photo by Pille R. Priske on Unsplash

A surprising new way to look more attractive has surfaced during the pandemic according to a new study conducted by researchers at Cardiff University. The data collected by the Welsh academics has shown that people look more attractive when they are wearing protective masks.

The scientists were shocked to discover that both men and women were judged to look better with a face-covering obscuring the lower half of their faces. The most beautiful mask of all came out as a surprise also; the blue disposable-type surgical mask topped the readings.

Dr Michael Lewis, a reader from Cardiff University’s school of psychology and an expert in faces, said research carried out before the pandemic had found that medical face masks reduced attractiveness because they were associated with disease or illness, reports the Guardian.

-- ADVERTISEMENT --

“We wanted to test whether this had changed since face coverings became ubiquitous and understand whether the type of mask had any effect,” he said.

“Our study suggests faces are considered most attractive when covered by medical face masks. This may be because we’re used to healthcare workers wearing blue masks and now we associate these with people in caring or medical professions. At a time when we feel vulnerable, we may find the wearing of medical masks reassuring and so feel more positive towards the wearer.”

The first part of the research was carried out in February 2021 by which time the British population had become used to wearing masks for lots of different tasks. Forty-three women were asked to rate on a scale of one to 10 the attractiveness of images of male faces without a mask, wearing a plain cloth mask, a blue medical face mask, and holding a plain black book covering the area a face mask would hide. The masks made the wearers look more attractive, according to the results.


“The results run counter to the pre-pandemic research where it was thought masks made people think about disease and the person should be avoided,” said Lewis.

“The pandemic has changed our psychology in how we perceive the wearers of masks. When we see someone wearing a mask we no longer think ‘that person has a disease, I need to stay away.

“This relates to evolutionary psychology and why we select the partners we do. Disease and evidence of disease can play a big role in mate selection – previously any cues to disease would be a big turn-off. Now we can observe a shift in our psychology such that face masks are no longer acting as a contamination cue.”


The results of the first study have been published in the journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications. A second study has been carried out, in which a group of men look at women in masks; it has yet to be published but Lewis said the results were broadly the same. The researchers did not ask the participants to spell out their sexual orientations.


Thank you for taking the time to read this article, do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here