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Impact of face covering on the formation of first impressions from faces.

Guo, K., Hare, A. and Liu, C., 2022. Impact of face covering on the formation of first impressions from faces. Perception, 51 (1), 37- 50.

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Guo et al 2022 Impact of Face Masks and Viewers Anxiety on Ratings of First Impressions from Faces.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


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DOI: 10.1177/03010066211065230


The emergence of Covid-19 as a global public health crisis has resulted in the legal requirement to wear face coverings in public spaces. Although face covering can reduce our ability to recognize other’s face identity and facial expressions, little is known about its impact on the formation of first impressions from faces. In this online study, we presented unfamiliar male and female faces displaying neutral facial expressions with and without face masks, and asked participants to rate the perceived approachableness, trustworthiness, attractiveness, and dominance from each face on a 9-point scale. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and Social Interaction Anxiety Scale were also used to measure participants’ anxiety level. Our analysis revealed in comparison with no face mask condition, face covering increased the perceived approachableness, trustworthiness, and attractiveness; but decreased the dominance rating. Such face mask-induced modulatory effect was more evident for male than female faces. Furthermore, participants with higher trait and state anxiety scores tended to have higher dominance ratings for unmasked female faces than their masked counterparts. It seems that the presence of a face mask can distort our first impressions of strangers. Although the ratings for approachableness, trustworthiness, attractiveness, and dominance were positively correlated, they were subject to different influences from face coverings and participants’ anxiety levels.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:face covering, first impression, approachableness, trustworthiness, attractiveness, dominance, anxiety
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:36535
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:24 Jan 2022 14:11
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:32


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