Psychology Night Research Posters and Presentations

Faculty Sponsor, if applicable

Dr. Verena Graupmann

Project Abstract

Face mask use is an objectively effective measure in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, yet face masks’ full well-being impacts are unclear. While physically protective, face masks are barriers to social connection by depriving us of vital facial and emotional cues when interacting with others (Carbon, 2020; Van Kleef, 2009). We seek to experimentally evaluate face masks’ influence on our perception of ourselves and strangers. Participants in DePaul’s Psychology Subject Pool will interact with a confederate over Zoom, and the face mask status (masked/unmasked) of both confederate and participant will be randomly assigned. Participants will then rate their partner for perceived warmth and report their own self-related psychological need fulfillment. Consistent with face masks’ concealment of social-emotional information, we predict that perceived partner warmth and self-related needs will be lowest when both interaction partners are masked and highest when both are unmasked. We further predict that the confederate will be rated as warmer when unmasked, and that participants’ self-related need fulfillment will be higher when participants are unmasked. If confirmed, these patterns would demonstrate potential social-emotional costs of face masks and valuably inform public health messaging which might encourage people to carefully interact unmasked in safely distanced outdoor settings to mitigate the deleterious effects of prolonged social isolation.

Type of Research

Department Honors


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Presentation Year