Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version


Document Type



The Nebraska Educator, Volume 6, Issue 2 (June 2022), pp. 119-135.



Copyright © 2022 University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Researchers are still exploring the impact of the novel COVID-19 disease. This global pandemic has altered daily life, including how we interact with others. One radical change is the wide use of cloth or disposable face masks that cover people’s faces from the nose down. The current paper explores issues related to the diminished ability to identify others’ facial expressions and what impact that may have on people’s ability to perceive emotions and the social cues attached to those emotions. To further explore this issue, an exploratory, experimental study was conducted, participants (n = 7) were asked to complete a facial recognition task in which their reaction time and accuracy were measured for three different blocks of trials. There was no difference in reaction time between trial type, but there was a difference in accuracy which may be related to the costs of switching between masked vs. no mask conditions. Implications of these findings are further discussed.