Study Confirms Face Masks Interfere With Non-Verbal Communication

Study Confirms Face Masks Interfere With Non-Verbal Communication

A recent study conducted by researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada has shown that wearing face masks interferes with effective communication between people because masks hide parts of our faces used for nonverbal communication expressing our emotions and intentions.1

Shortly after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, public health officials provided guidelines that everyone must wear face masks to control the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.2  Since a significant part of communication among humans involves non-verbal communication, the general public wearing masks became aware that masking had adverse effects on human interaction, particularly among children.3

The researchers at McGill University wanted to investigate how covering the lower part of the face with a mask impacts the ability to recognize basic emotions from facial expressions.4 Sarah McCrackin, postdoctoral fellow at the Laboratory for Social Attention and Cognition at McGill University said:

We know that humans communicate with facial cues, and of those cues, facial expressions are one of the most important because they signal another individual’s emotional state.5

Findings Show Face Masks Reduce Ability to Recognize All Emotions

 The study examined the ability of 120 participants to recognize basic facial emotions, such as fear, happiness, anger, sadness, disgust, surprise, and neutral by comparing communication between those wearing a mask and those not wearing a mask.6

The study found that face masks reduced overall recognition of facial expression accuracy by approximately 23 percent. The reduction of recognition varied by the type of emotions. Identification of disgust (46 percent accuracy reduction) and anger (30 percent) were impacted the most by masks. Sadness (23 percent) and neutral expressions (23 percent) were impacted an intermediate level. Fear (10 percent), surprise (15 percent) and happiness (15 percent) were the least impacted.7

The findings highlight the impact of COVID pandemic management policies on social interactions, providing evidence that social communication is impaired when people wearing masks interact with each other.8

“The key point to take away from this work is that face masks make reading emotions from faces difficult,” said Sarah McCrackin, PhD, the lead investigator for the study. “She added that mask wearing may interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and the ability of doctors to accurately evaluate a patient’s health status.

It is important to consider the social impact of impact of face masks in contexts other than the pandemic, like healthcare. For example, part of a doctor’s job is being able to identify when patients are feeling negative emotions such as anger or sadness. Our data suggest that recognition of these two emotions are impacted by face masks the most, so it would be important for doctors to be 9ware of these limitations in communication when interacting with masks.1

The Importance of Non-Verbal Communication

Research shows that non-verbal communication, such as facial expressions, accounts for 55 percent of overall communication between people.10 The eyes and the mouth are the two major parts of the face that assist in assessing non-verbal cues. Facial expressions play a critical role in communication and the relaying of emotions between individuals. When people are able to take visual clues from one another, it helps them to more effectively predict situations and create appropriate responses.11

The study researchers state:

It is important that we understand the impact that face masks may have on human social interactions. This is especially true in a time where many are feeling socially isolated, given that the ability to recognize facial expressions is a fundamental part of social interactions and is linked to overall social and cognitive functioning.12


If you would like to receive an e-mail notice of the most recent articles published in The Vaccine Reaction each week, click here.

Click here to view References:

1 McCrackin S et al.  Face Masks Impair Basic Emotion Recognition. Social Psychology Feb. 21, 2022.
2 McGill University. Face masks impair nonverbal communication between individuals. Feb. 21, 2022.
3 Ceausu J. Masks impede communication, affect children says study. The Suburban Mar. 2, 2022.
4 McGill University. Face masks impair nonverbal communication between individuals. Feb. 21, 2022.
5 Dolan E. New research shows masks make it more difficult to read emotions from faces. Psypost.com Feb. 26, 2022.
6 McGill University. Face masks impair nonverbal communication between individuals. Feb. 21, 2022.
7 Ibid.
8 McCrackin S et al. Face Masks Impair Basic Emotion Recognition. Social Psychology Feb. 21, 2022.
9 Dolan E. New research shows masks make it more difficult to read emotions from faces. Psypost.com Feb. 26, 2022.
10 Mheidly N et al. Effect of Face Masks on Interpersonal Communication During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers in Public Health 2020; 8: 582191.
11 McCrackin S et al.  Face Masks Impair Basic Emotion Recognition. Social Psychology Feb. 21, 2022.
12 McGill University. Face masks impair nonverbal communication between individuals. Feb. 21, 2022.

7 Responses to "Study Confirms Face Masks Interfere With Non-Verbal Communication"

  1. Fowell the $   April 3, 2022 at 10:16 pm

    When doctors found ivermectim would cure COVID, Dr Fauci recommend we ware face mask to slow the spread.

    Reply
  2. D L Baker   April 4, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    Not to mention the fact that people who wore these useless things were breathing in their own carbon dioxide thereby increasing their chances of hypercapnea. The damage that has been caused during the past 2 years may not manifest fully for another year or two but God help us when it does. We’re already living in a world of zombies thanks to cell phones; hate to see how much worse this is going to get when you combine masks with the jabs.

    Reply
  3. naomi zuckerman   April 5, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    I say better to face some challenges with “non-verbal communication” than more rampant spreading of this airborne frankenvirus! These challenges may even help us to develop more sensitivity and awareness in our communications. The temporary inconvenience of wearing masks in crowded public spaces is well worth the effort . Masks are one of the most useful tools we have to discourage rampant spreading of airborne microbes. It would be foolhardy to not use them.

    Reply
  4. Ron S   April 7, 2022 at 1:56 am

    If you gonna use a mask do it correctly.
    1. Make Shure the mask is designed and certificate to filter out airborne mircrobes or what ever the Hazzard is.
    2. Make Shure the mask fits correct.
    3. Replace mask every hour.

    Mircrobes, fungus grow in warm moist condition.
    If you take off your mask don’t put it back on until it has been washed and sanitized.

    Reply
  5. Julie   April 8, 2022 at 5:41 pm

    I am a speech therapist and the impact I have seen on children is real. It is so disturbing and we have a whole generation of kids who will be playing catch up (assuming it’s even possible) for a long time.

    Reply
  6. Patricia P Tursi   April 12, 2022 at 10:27 am

    I was a speech therapist but am a retired psychologist. Yes, damages are rampant Pretty amazing that we are using the same Approach used 100 years ago…mandated masks. Oh, that’s right, we have a Nobel Prize winning medicine, Ivernectin and aorther medicine that has cured millions with a protocol, but physicians have lost their licenses for prescribing these. Why were they banned? Profits are one reason, but there are other reasons. Those in power wanted to introduce vaccines, masks and social distancing and economic shut downs. We are an nation of sheep. One man earning 24+ million in one year is a sin in my book but with the thousands who gave lost their lives, those earning profits off of an unnecessary vaccine should have been prosecuted. Read Elana Freeland.

    Reply
  7. Randy   April 17, 2022 at 1:48 pm

    Another useless “study” for something that should be obvious! This society is already dead. It’s just too stupid to lie down! There is absolutely no rational reason for anyone to be restricting their oxygen intake with a mask that is doing nothing but harming them and keeping them under CONTROL! Covid is nothing more than a distraction – for over 2 years! The so-called “vaccines”, on the other hand, are bioweapons! The gene editing nanobot shots are reprogramming people’s genetic code. If you have trouble believing that; then you obviously have no clue about what’s really going on here. An entire generation of children has already been destroyed; but it goes so much deeper than that. As soon as the WHO take over Global Healthcare…the game is over! Klaus Schwab will be rolling out his Transhumanistic agenda very soon.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.