Masks Don't Mask Others' Emotions for Kids
TUESDAY, Dec. 29, 2020 -- Children can still read the emotional expressions of people wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers say.
"We now have this situation where adults and kids have to interact all the time with people whose faces are partly covered, and a lot of adults are wondering if that's going to be a problem for children's emotional development," said study co-author Ashley Ruba, a postdoctoral researcher in the Child Emotion Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
For the study, more than 80 7- to 13-year-olds were shown photos of faces with expressions of sadness, anger or fear. The faces were either uncovered, covered by a surgical mask, or had sunglasses on.
The kids identified the emotions of uncovered faces 66% of the time -- well above the odds of guessing.
When confronted with a masked face, kids correctly identified sadness about 28% of the time, anger 27% of the time, and fear 18% of the time, according to the findings.
"Not surprisingly, it was tougher with parts of the faces covered. But even with a mask covering the nose and mouth, the kids were able to identify these emotions at a rate better than chance," Ruba said in a university news release.
If kids can read other people's emotions even if they have a mask on, they're likely to do even better in real-life situations, she said.
"Emotions aren't conveyed solely through your face," Ruba said. "Vocal inflections, the way that someone positions their body, and what's going on around them, all that other information helps us make better predictions about what someone is feeling."
The study shows that kids' emotional capabilities can continue to develop even if some of their interactions are with others wearing face coverings.
"I hope this settles some nerves," Ruba said. "Kids are really resilient. They're able to adjust to the information they're given, and it doesn't look like wearing masks will slow down their development in this case."
The study was published Dec. 23 in the journal PLOS ONE.
© 2021 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Posted: December 2020
Further Support and Information on COVID-19
Read this next
TUESDAY, Jan. 19, 2021 -- A spritz instead of a shot to ward off COVID-19? Researchers report that a nasal spray vaccine against the new coronavirus shows promise in animal...
TUESDAY, Jan. 19, 2021 -- On the eve of his inauguration, President-elect Joe Biden will preside over a ceremony on Tuesday evening that will honor those who have died during the...
TUESDAY, Jan. 19, 2021 -- Do you you keep 6 feet apart from others to help stop coronavirus spread? New research shows that the wealthier you were at the start of the pandemic,...
More News Resources
- FDA Medwatch Drug Alerts
- Daily MedNews
- News for Health Professionals
- New Drug Approvals
- New Drug Applications
- Drug Shortages
- Clinical Trial Results
- Generic Drug Approvals
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Whatever your topic of interest, subscribe to our newsletters to get the best of Drugs.com in your inbox.