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Women Find Men Who Wear Face Masks More Attractive, Study Shows

CC0 / Pixabay / Man wearing a medical face mask
Man wearing a medical face mask - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.01.2022
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Around the world people are participating in the inescapable fashion trend of face masks, as the necessary heath devices become a valid part of our look after over two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it has been recently noted that face coverings can contribute to our attractiveness.
Women seem to find men with face coverings more attractive than those bare-faced - and it is the blue medical mask in particular that appears to put one closer to a 10, a new study by Cardiff University experts suggested.
With findings published in the journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, researchers measured how different types of face coverings changed the attractiveness of male faces for women, with 43 women asked to judge a man's attractiveness on a scale of one to 10.
It appears that women found covered male faces more attractive in spite of the type of the covering - it could be a mask or a notebook. But in a contest between medical masks and cloth masks, the latter is beaten.
According to the researchers, the reasons for such perceptions can vary.
One of the causes could be due to an association of face masks with health workers, which makes us feel reassured and therefore "more positive towards the wearer", according to the study.

“We also found faces are considered significantly more attractive when covered by cloth masks than when not covered," Dr. Michael Lewis, a reader from Cardiff University’s School of Psychology and an expert in the psychology of faces, explained. "Some of this effect may be a result of being able to hide undesirable features in the lower part of the face – but this effect was present for both less attractive and more attractive people.”

One of the most interesting conclusions of the research is that the results are in stark contrast to pre- pandemic thinking, "where it was thought masks made people think about disease and the person should be avoided."

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

Now we no longer perceive face coverings as an indication of contagion, as masks have become the accepted 'new normal' when engaging in any social activity outside of the home.
The scientific team said it would be conducting additional study to determine whether the findings are true for other genders.
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