Face Masks: Are They Changing How We Behave?
BBC Focus - Science & Technology|September 2020
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Face Masks: Are They Changing How We Behave?
Wearing face masks could affect how we communicate
Dr Dean Burnett

One of the more obvious societal changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic is that it’s now far more common for people to wear masks in public. This is good: the masks are helping to limit the spread of COVID-19. But as masks become commonplace, it’s interesting to consider how they affect our interaction.

The human face plays an important role in much of our communication and interaction. We’ve even evolved dedicated brain regions for recognising faces. So, obscuring half of it won’t go unnoticed. As some have pointed out, until recently, covering the face was generally treated with much suspicion, something often used by unscrupulous types to stir up ideologically-useful Islamophobia by condemning the wearing of niqabs.


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September 2020