Socializing through half of the face

<p>Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns stands June 4, 2020, at Muncie City Hall. Mearns announced everyone must wear masks indoors on campus via email Aug. 4. <strong>Jacob Musselman, DN File</strong></p>

Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns stands June 4, 2020, at Muncie City Hall. Mearns announced everyone must wear masks indoors on campus via email Aug. 4. Jacob Musselman, DN File

MUNCIE, Ind. (NewsLink) -- Since the spring of 2020, people have been socializing with only half their face in public. This is due to the Covid-19 pandemic beginning, and at this point, not ending yet. How does this type of cover-up affect one's ability to socialize and teach? 

Living with half a face is meant to keep each other and the public as healthy as possible. But these protocols, specifically the ones on Ball State’s campus, have created a more closed-off environment for socialization and relation, according to students and teachers. Teachers must teach all day while wearing a mask the entire time.

According to Dr. Alexander Tatum, assistant professor of counseling psychology, “I would say wearing a mask makes it more difficult to teach because a lot of the facial expressions that usually tell me if students are paying attention or if students are engaged are kind of more difficult to read.” 

 A study published in Trends in Neuroscience and Education found that "the face provides a universal language for communication, in particular, the communication of emotions."

The article went on to point out that facial communication is not the only type of communication. There’s also the ability to communicate with your body through “body language." This means communicating nonverbally through conscious or unconscious gestures and movements.  

Masks can have a very muting effect on people, but also give the opportunity to communicate in different ways, while keeping each other safe and healthy. 

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