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Can children read emotions behind face masks?


Covering faces around kids won‚Äôt mask emotions ūüė∑

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Masks are one of the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Children know that we all need to wear masks in public, but scientists weren't sure how it can impact children’s emotional development.

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The newest study published in PLOS ONE shows that even with a mask covering the nose and mouth, the kids were able to identify emotions.

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The researchers showed more than 80 children, ages 7 to 13, photos of faces displaying sadness, anger, or fear that was unobstructed, covered by a surgical mask, or wearing sunglasses. The kids were asked to assign an emotion to each face from a list of six labels.

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With a mask covering the nose and mouth, the kids were able to identify these 6 emotions at a rate better than chance.

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This is good news suggesting that children’s social interactions may be minimally impacted by mask-wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic. It's worth adding that in everyday life children don't draw conclusions about other people's emotional state only based on facial expression. Children, and adults, may be able to adapt to the new reality of mask-wearing to have successful interactions during the pandemic.

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ūüĒ¨Study: "Children‚Äôs emotion inferences from masked faces: Implications for social interactions during COVID-19"

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