November 13, 2020

How am I meant to know what you’re thinking behind that mask?

Katie Duncan

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Acrylic paint on paperExpression behind a mask, 2020A4

Wearing masks has become the 2020 norm. I want to explore how this affects our ability to read emotions and understand how others are feeling. Facial emotion recognition is an important skill necessary for social communication. Psychology research has explored whether we are able to read emotions from only the eye region (e.g. Baron-Cohen et al., 2001, and their reading the mind behind the eyes task). Research has shown that some people (for example individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder) struggle with this. The aim of this portrait was to get people thinking about the affect wearing a mask has on the social cues they are providing, and how this might impact social interaction.