In a post-CoVID-19 world, people who perceive themselves as less attractive than others are more likely to wear masks when they are highly motivated to make a good impression.
This is according to a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology.
“Our results consistently showed that self-perceived unattractive individuals were more willing to wear a mask, because they believed it would benefit their attractiveness,” the authors said in the report.
“Our findings suggest that mask wearing may transform from a self-protection measure during the COVID-19 pandemic to a self-presentation strategy in the post-pandemic era,” the study authors added.
But the researchers stress the effect of self-perceived attractiveness on mask-wearing intentions only applies to situations when people are highly motivated to make a good impression, said co-author Incheol Choi, at Seoul National University in Seoul. Professor of Psychology. , South Korea, from Fox News Digital.
Because some people continue to wear masks — while many are happy to leave them behind — researchers at Seoul National University suggest that there may be a psychological variable influencing people’s decisions.
Dr. Christopher L. Edwards, a psychiatrist and adjunct professor at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina, told Fox News Digital in an email.
“So it’s not unusual to find that there was an unintended benefit for individuals who had a negative self-concept,” added Edwards, who was not part of the study.
The study notes that “self-perceived attractiveness is defined as individuals’ self-concept or beliefs about their physical appearances.”
“For many people, masks cover the expression of negative emotions in interpersonal settings,” Edwards, of North Carolina, told Fox News Digital.
“For others, it hid the faces of those who considered themselves unattractive,” he added.
The study hypothesized that people who are high in self-attractiveness are less likely to wear masks because masks make it more difficult for them to make a good impression on others.
The researchers focused on three studies that surveyed participants in the U.S. about their self-reported attractiveness and mask-wearing behaviors in job interview scenarios.
The research team studied job interview settings because this is where “the physical appearance of interviewees significantly affects their interview outcomes”.
“The first study was to show that if [the way] People’s perceived attractiveness (i.e., self-reported attractiveness) predicted how they formed a belief about attractiveness with a face mask—and whether that belief would influence their intention to wear the mask,” Choi told Fox News Digital.
The 244 people studied were then asked to imagine receiving an email for a job interview.
They were asked if they would wear a mask during a job interview – and if their interviewers would find them more attractive wearing a mask.
“The results show that people who believe they are attractive are more likely to think that the mask will reduce their attractiveness, and are therefore less likely to wear face masks,” added Choi.
“It is worth noting that belief in mask attractiveness was related to intention to wear a mask as was fear of COVID-19 in Study 1,” the authors added in the report.
“Therefore, our results demonstrate that mask wearing may serve two functions in the post-pandemic era: self-presentation and self-protection,” according to the study.
A second study with 344 participants confirmed the results of the first experiment “even when controlling for other alternative beliefs — that is, mask confidence/competence beliefs.”
The team’s third study randomly assigned 442 people to two groups: one group that would imagine an activity that was mundane, versus another group that would be highly motivated to make a good impression.
The “low impression” group was told they were going to walk the dog, while the “high impression” group was told they were going to a job interview.
“We sought to show that the effect of mask wearing on self-perceived attractiveness only occurred when individuals were highly motivated to impress others (ie, a job interview)—whereas this was not the case. When they engage in mundane tasks, everyday activities (i.e. walking the dog),” Choi told Fox News Digital.
Some limitations of the study
The study noted several limitations.
The researchers acknowledged that they only studied one particular situation, namely job interviews – but that there are many other situations that encourage people to make good impressions, such as going on blind dates.
Choi also said the study didn’t account for many other factors, such as political leanings that could affect the results — because many people on both ends of the political spectrum often have opposing views on wearing masks. are
“Also, we reviewed situations involving one-time appointments,” he said.
“However, when individuals anticipate multiple future interactions with others, it is possible that self-perceived attractiveness is less associated with intention to wear a mask.”
Potentially ‘many more unintended benefits and consequences’
The researchers note that many variables drive someone to wear a mask or not — not just how people appear to others.
“Self-perceived attractiveness is one of many factors that influence people’s intention to wear a face mask,” Choi told Fox News Digital.
“So it would be inappropriate to say ‘you’re ugly’ to someone wearing a face mask.”
The study also suggests that those interviewing potential job candidates should be aware of “attraction bias” — and work to neutralize it in the hiring process, such as a structured format. Interview style.
“As time goes on we are likely to learn about many unintended benefits and consequences of masks,” Edwards added.
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