Transparent face masks protect and facilitate communication

Transparent face masks allow the perception of facial expressions while suppressing the dispersion of respiratory droplets that spread covid-19.

In the last two years since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the use of face masks in public as protection has increased worldwide.

The use of masks is effective in controlling the spread of the virus, but it is not without negative effects, such as hiding facial expressions,

Thus, it is sometimes difficult to read the expressions of individuals who are wearing a mask, affecting communication and interaction. The use of clear face masks can mitigate the effects of surgical face masks.

A team of Japanese researchers, led by Jun I. Kawahara of Hokkaido University and Yuki Miyazaki of Fukuyama University, investigated the effects of wearing a transparent mask on the perception of facial expressions. The findings were published at i-Perception on June 15th.

Compared to a surgical face mask, clear masks are very likely to allow for a better understanding of facial expressions.

Furthermore, the vast majority of studies on the effects of face masks on the perception of facial expressions were carried out in Western countries.

The signs used to understand facial expressions differ between East and West, and the authors intended to verify whether studies from the West could be applied to the East, according to news from Science Daily.

The team conducted two separate experiments, one with images of female faces and the other with images of male faces, expressing a set of expressions. The images were taken from a database and manipulated so that each image was available in three versions: without a mask, with a surgical mask and with a transparent mask.

The volunteers saw a random series of imagesone at a time, and asked to determine the facial expression for each image.

In both experiments, using male and female faces, they were able to confirm that the use of surgical masks tended to disturb the perception of facial expressions, making them more difficult to recognize.

The ability to recognize fear and happiness were the most affected, with happy faces consistently being poorly classified as neutral, and fearful faces being poorly classified as upset or surprised.

However, in both experiments, the use of transparent masks did not cause any negative effect on perception of facial expressions.

In both experiments, the perception of facial emotion was not influenced by the participants’ gender or facial models.

The study shows that clear face masks, which suppress respiratory droplets, do not hide facial expressions. There were also some limitations to the study, due to the digital manipulation of the images used.

The effect of transparent masks, for example, under various real-world lighting conditions may differ. People may also communicate differently while wearing face masks.

More studies are needed to determine whether cultural factors play an important role in the perception of facial expression. hidden by the masks.

Alice Carqueja, ZAP //

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