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People who think they're attractive are less likely to wear masks, a study shows

Pedestrians cross Houston Street as students wearing masks leave the New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math (NEST+m) school in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021, in New York.
Brittainy Newman
/
AP
Pedestrians cross Houston Street as students wearing masks leave the New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math (NEST+m) school in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021, in New York.

People are less likely to wear masks to prevent COVID-19 if they see themselves as good-looking, according to a study published earlier this year.

Researchers asked 1,030 participants to self-evaluate how attractive they deemed themselves, how likely they were to wear a mask and if certain situations, such as a job interview or walking the dog, impacted their willingness to wear one.

The more attractive a person perceives themselves, the less likely they were to wear a mask because they thought the mask made them less attractive. Inversely, the less attractive someone found themselves, the more likely they were to wear a mask, according to the study in the Frontiers of Psychology journal published in late January.

The former group was less likely to hypothetically wear a mask for a job interview, while the latter group was more likely to wear a mask in that circumstance.

"Our findings suggest that mask-wearing can shift from being a self-protection measure during the COVID-19 pandemic to a self-presentation tactic in the post-pandemic era."

For mundane activities such as walking a dog, people were less likely to care about their looks and thus, were less motivated to wear a mask. But those who see themselves as attractive were still more likely to feel the need to make a good impression.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie

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