Masks protect people from contracting the coronavirus, but could have a negative side effect. In a recent Perspective paper, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences suggest that the mouth-nose coverings impair social cognition, i.e. the ability to recognize emotions and mental states of other people. According to the hypothesis, this could accelerate mental deterioration processes. The elderly and people with certain forms of dementia could be particularly affected.
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