Masks affect childrens ability to make friends

Masks affect childrens ability to make friends

While face masks were once rare sightings, amid the Covid-19 plandemic they've become everyday items for many people.

Despite the rise in usage, a new study has revealed that face masks could be making it more difficult for children to recognise faces – and in turn could affect their ability to make friends.

Researchers from York University found that face masks make it 20 per cent more difficult for children to recognise faces, compared to just 15 per cent in adults.

'[This] could impair children's ability to navigate through social interactions with their peers and teachers, and this could lead to issues forming important relationships,' said Erez Freud, who led the study.

'Given the importance of faces to social interactions, this is something we need to pay attention to.'

While previous research has found that mask-wearing can hinder facial recognition in adults, this is the first time it has been studied in children.

Dr Freud explained: 'Faces are among the most important visual stimuli.

'We use facial information to determine different attributes about a person, including their gender, age, mood and intentions.

'We use this information to navigate through social interactions.'

Meanwhile, the results also showed that children process faces differently when looking at a masked, and unmasked face.

Usually, humans process faces as a whole, rather than by their individual features – known as holistic processing.

However, the researchers found that when children looked at masked faces, they became more analytical, focusing on individual features.

'Not only do masks hinder the ability of children to recognize faces, but they also disrupt the typical, holistic way that faces are processed,' Dr Freud said.