People are likely to cover their faces if they think they look better

PMany factors determine whether someone chooses to wear a mask during this phase of the pandemic: their healththeir risk tolerance, where they are, people around them—and, according to a recent study, how attractive they think they are.

studywas published in January in the magazine Borders in Psychology, found that people who thought they were attractive tended to dislike wearing masks. The researchers concluded that it seems to be because people who think they are handsome do not believe that masks will enhance their appearance, while the opposite may be true for those who do not think they are attractive. so. (The authors note that some cultures even have slang terms that refer to people wearing masks to look better or to hide their full faces. In the US, it’s called “sentence sentences.” fish with a mask”.)

For this study, a team of researchers in South Korea recruited adults in the United States to conduct several surveys. In the first, 244 people answered questions about their self-perceived attractiveness and how they thought wearing a mask affected their appearance. The researchers then asked the participants to imagine they had a job interview and asked if they would wear a mask during the interview if it wasn’t required.

The authors write: “Individus with higher self-recognized attractiveness were less likely to espouse the belief that wearing a mask increased their perceived attractiveness, which further reduced the intention to wear a mask. their job interviews”. In other words, people who think they’re handsome don’t want to detract from their appearance by covering their faces.

Read more: How COVID-19 changes hearts—Even after the virus is gone

In another experiment, researchers posed similar questions about masks and appearance to 442 people. They asked half of the group to imagine they had a job interview (a relatively dangerous situation) while the other half imagined they were walking the dog (a more mundane activity). Both groups were then asked whether they would choose to wear a mask in the given situation.

They found that people were more likely to say they would wear a mask if they thought it would make them look better, and that trend was more evident in the high-risk job interview scenario. . This finding suggests that people’s decision to wear a mask is at least partly based on how much they care about looking good in a given situation, the authors write.

The desire to seem attractive can even be as influential as the desire to stay healthy. In their surveys, the authors also asked people how scared they were of COVID-19. People who think masks make them look better are almost as likely to be covered up by people who are afraid of the virus.

With mandatory COVID-19 mask wearing largely a thing of the past in the United States, it’s important for researchers and public health agencies to know why people — or aren’t —keep wearing them. Of course, disease prevention is the main driver. But so it appears, is looking good.

Must read more from TIME

Write letter for Jamie Ducharme at [email protected].


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