You mean besides communicating that we care enough to try to prevent spreading a deadly virus?
But of course masks have their downsides and just plain awkward sides, especially among populations very much used to reading facial expressions hundreds of times throughout the day. Check out this interesting piece from BBC Future that deep dives into the topic.
When it comes to studying faces, the eyes and mouth are the most informative regions because they tend to be the most expressive. We subconsciously analyse their combined movements to figure out what someone is trying to tell us. Even so, each feature alone can communicate certain emotions especially well. The mouth region, in particular, is good for expressing feelings of happiness. Concealing this area can be problematic when wanting to come across as approachable and friendly – which might explain why a number of healthcare workers on the frontline have taken to adhering smiley-faced pictures of themselves onto their medical gowns in a bid to ease patient anxiety.
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