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      The COVID-19 pandemic masks the way people perceive faces

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          Abstract

          The unprecedented efforts to minimize the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic introduce a new arena for human face recognition in which faces are partially occluded with masks. Here, we tested the extent to which face masks change the way faces are perceived. To this end, we evaluated face processing abilities for masked and unmasked faces in a large online sample of adult observers (n = 496) using an adapted version of the Cambridge Face Memory Test, a validated measure of face perception abilities in humans. As expected, a substantial decrease in performance was found for masked faces. Importantly, the inclusion of masks also led to a qualitative change in the way masked faces are perceived. In particular, holistic processing, the hallmark of face perception, was disrupted for faces with masks, as suggested by a reduced inversion effect. Similar changes were found whether masks were included during the study or the test phases of the experiment. Together, we provide novel evidence for quantitative and qualitative alterations in the processing of masked faces that could have significant effects on daily activities and social interactions.

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          Most cited references42

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          The many faces of configural processing.

          Adults' expertise in recognizing faces has been attributed to configural processing. We distinguish three types of configural processing: detecting the first-order relations that define faces (i.e. two eyes above a nose and mouth), holistic processing (glueing the features together into a gestalt), and processing second-order relations (i.e. the spacing among features). We provide evidence for their separability based on behavioral marker tasks, their sensitivity to experimental manipulations, and their patterns of development. We note that inversion affects each type of configural processing, not just sensitivity to second-order relations, and we review evidence on whether configural processing is unique to faces.
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            Looking at upside-down faces.

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              Thirty years of investigating the own-race bias in memory for faces: A meta-analytic review.

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                efreud@yorku.ca
                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2045-2322
                21 December 2020
                21 December 2020
                2020
                : 10
                Affiliations
                [1 ]GRID grid.21100.32, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9430, Department of Psychology and the Centre for Vision Research, , York University, ; Toronto, Canada
                [2 ]GRID grid.17063.33, ISNI 0000 0001 2157 2938, Rotman Research Institute, , Baycrest Health Sciences, ; Toronto, Canada
                [3 ]GRID grid.7489.2, ISNI 0000 0004 1937 0511, Department of Psychology, , Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, ; 8410501 Beer-Sheva, Israel
                [4 ]GRID grid.7489.2, ISNI 0000 0004 1937 0511, Department of Cognitive and Brain Sciences, , Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, ; 8410501 Beer-Sheva, Israel
                Article
                78986
                10.1038/s41598-020-78986-9
                7752904
                33349645
                752b2e36-0cd6-48ad-90ed-cd4bddfff3d2
                © The Author(s) 2020

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Funding
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100010785, Canada First Research Excellence Fund;
                Award ID: Vision Science to Applications (VISTA)
                Award ID: Vision Science to Applications (VISTA)
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000038, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada;
                Award ID: /
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100003977, Israel Science Foundation;
                Award ID: 296/15
                Award Recipient :
                Categories
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                © The Author(s) 2020

                Uncategorized
                human behaviour,perception
                Uncategorized
                human behaviour, perception

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