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How wearing a mask affects our social relationships

mascarilla comunicacion

The masks have gone back  part of our usual clothing, of our day in day out, are ours protective and main barrier in front of the external threats of virus and bacteria. The sanitary crisis of the coronavirus has extended his use to all the fields and are indispensable tool to stop the advance of the pandemia of the COVID-19.

The masks are necessary to protect our health and the ones of the other, especially when it is impossible to keep a distance social. His correct utilisation can save a lot of lives, this is evident, but also is true that it can arrive affect to our social interpersonal relations because they limit us to the half the facial expression of our emotions.

The masks limit the emotional expression (but put it to you equal)

When we communicate us with another expensive person to face use our facial gestures like fundamental tool so that they understand what want to express. The musculature of the face moves  chord to these emotions and now have it limited to the half.

It is important that the others people recognise in us these emotional gestures that serve of social reference, especially for the smallest that are developing this natural skill of empatizar with the other regulated by the called neurons mirror. These neurons serve to synchronise us with what see in the other and learn of them. The mask limits our empathy to the other by what owe to reinforce other systems of communication to improve this psychological process that so much helps to understand to the other of efficient form.

It does not be necessary to be alarmist with this fact, since our own brain has sufficient capacity and plasticidad neural as to adapt  to this fault of information and compensate it improving other stimuli that receive of the another person like his tone of voice, movements of the body, look deeper, etc. Little by little the brain reaprende to process of another form the information until the point that it leaves to give him so much importance to the fact to carry mask and already becomes an element more than our communication.

How improve the communication with mask?

Big part of our communication produces  of visual way, that that see wakes up us greater emotions by what internalise it and learn better. Therefore it is important the expensive communication to face. The social distance has aggravated also this possibility of communication, partly improved by the extension of the use of the videollamadas. The fear, anxiety and stress that generates this social distance also goes to repercutir in how express us.

A simple solution is through the use of cheap personalised masks can achieve  that through the design form the people that see you seat  identified with the person that hides  behind the mask. A personalised mask that indicate our current emotional state can help to identify by part of the another person how find you. Obviously, a cheerful mask does not go to substitute your smile but can help to interpret that you are happy this day.

In this appearance, remembers always use masks recognised and chord to the suggestions of the sanitary authorities.

Identify the facial gestures of the emotions that do not hide

But as we say, the mask only limits our emotional expression to the half. Specifically the muscles that take part in our main emotions are the following, taking like reference the studies of Paul Ekman on the six emotions gestuales primary:

  • Joy:
    • We do not see with mask: Contraction of the muscle of the cheekbone to the upper lip (smile).
    • If we see with mask: Contraction of the orbicular that surrounds the eye.
  • Sadness:
    • We do not see with mask: Estiramiento of the lips horizontally.
    • Yes we see with mask: it creases  the entrecejo, upper lid fall  and the eyebrows  angulan upwards.
  • Ire:
    • We do not see with mask: they tighten  the teeth.
    • If we see with mask: together Eyebrows and oriented downwards, fixation of the look.
  • Surprise:
    • We do not see with mask: The jaw tends to fall a bit.
    • If we see with mask:  The upper lids elevate  and the inferior tighten .
  • Disgust:
    • We do not see with mask: it creases  the nose and elevates  the upper lip.
    • If we see with mask: Narrowing of the eyes.
  • Fear:
    • We do not see with mask: Elongation of the lips to backwards.
    • If we see with mask: Elevation of the upper lids and the inferior tighten .

Know these gestures goes to help to improve those that remain visible to our eyes.

Improve the no verbal language

In addition to the physical fact that we do not see complete the face of the another person also repercute a lot that our voice sees  altered, listens us  a bit less and not being able to see the lips of the people to the rhythm of his speech hampers the identification of the words that pronounces . Therefore the people sordomudas have greater difficulties with the use of the masks, but of them also have to learn to improve the rest of capacities no verbal:

  • Kinestesic: Improve our corporal movements so that the perception was better. Accompany with the movement what want to express. For example, if we want to assent positively to a person make the movement of the corresponding head. Or if they ask us an indication, signpost with the hand.
  • Paralanguage: It does reference to the no verbal elements of the voice, like the intonation, the volume, the speed, accentuation, rhythm, pauses and silences. We have to elevate a bit more the tone of voice without arriving to shout as well as speak slightly more slowly so that the another person process better the information that receives without this feedback of the lips. It is not of more repeat more times of the normal the things that want to say.

Improve other senses

The fact of the social distance and the restrictions of the masks the people that are relating  with others under these circumstances will improve other external senses like the hearing or the smell. If you can not show your smile, at least shows a good corporal smell.

Control the external environment

To improve the communication is also of big importance control, whenever it can  the external environment. If you are professor or sportive trainer will help you that your class situates  in shape of Or to ensure you that so much to you as between the students exist a visual contact more direct so that they can share information with the look and rest of movements and gestures of the body. It is important besides reduce the external noise more than the usual. The use of visual support extra also is a great help: use of blackboards, video or exemplify the exercises one same so that the students and/or players understand better the task that explains .

The pandemia has brought new habits of life to which have to accustom us, by your health and by the one of which surround us: put you the mask, keep a safe distance and wash you the hands.

Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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Soy Iván Pico, psicólogo. Si puedo ayudarte no dudes en escribirme. Gracias por la visita. Un saludo.