A report comprised of three studies showed that people who thought they were less attractive were more likely to wear masks.
The report was derived from three studies conducted by the Department of Psychology and Center for Happiness Studies at Seoul National University in South Korea. The first two studies found that people who thought they were good-looking were less willing to wear a mask; they were less likely to believe that mask-wearing made them look better. The third study found that their belief was stronger in situations where they needed to deliver a favorable impression.
“Research shows that individuals who perceive themselves as more (vs. less) attractive possess more socially desirable attributes … have higher self-esteem … and enjoy better mental and physical health,” the study stated.
The study claims that “as essential cues that signal (un) attractiveness (e.g., facial symmetry) … can be censored with a mask, mask-wearing might critically influence how one’s attractiveness is perceived. … relatively unattractive individuals are deemed more attractive with masks … previous findings suggest that mask-wearing enhances perceived attractiveness among unattractive individuals, while the opposite is true for attractive individuals.”
The study points out that in South Korea, the term “ma-gi-kkun,” was coined to refer to people who intentionally wore a mask to give a more favorable impression; the study cites the American term “mask-fisher” to mean the same thing.
“We expect that individuals who perceive themselves as attractive (unattractive) will be less (more) likely to endorse the belief that wearing a mask enhances their perceived attractiveness,” the study states, concluding, “Our results consistently demonstrated that self-perceived unattractive individuals were more willing to wear a mask, as they believed it would benefit their attractiveness.”
The Daily Mail reported that the people examined in the study were Americans recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk and the average age of those in the study was 33 years old.
According to an Ipsos report from early December, roughly half of the Americans they surveyed reported wearing masks “at all times or sometimes when on an airplane.” 39% of respondents said they wore masks at all times or sometimes when on public transportation or in a rideshare; 33% said they wore masks at all times or sometimes in grocery stores. 85% of respondents said that the COVID-19 virus would not go away during their lifetimes.