"Smiles and Masks": Study overview

Eligibility criteria

For babies ages 4 to 12 months

Duration 15 minutes

We will provide a $5 Amazon gift card for eligible participants. We will send you the gift card within 1 week of participation.

At the moment, this study is only open to families in the United States. Please understand that if you live outside the United States, we are unable to send you a gift card or use your data in the final sample.

To be eligible for compensation we ask that you 1) provide a valid consent video (we will show you how!), 2) your child must be in the age range specified above and, 3) your child must be present during the study videos (but not necessarily the consent video), and live in the US. Your child does not need to finish the entire study in order to be eligible for compensation.

What happens

In this study, your baby will see pictures of 8 different faces shown on the left and right side of the screen. In some pictures, the same woman’s face will be shown; in other pictures two different women will be shown. Sometimes both or just one of the women is wearing a face mask; other times she will show a friendly smile.

We are interested in which picture your baby prefers to look at. Before your baby looks at the pictures, we will ask you two questions about your baby’s experience seeing people wearing face masks.

What we're studying

Babies learn a lot by watching our faces, and they maximize that learning by deciding where to look--they might watch a person who is currently talking, or watch for a reaction as they offer to share a treat. We are interested in whether babies are actually taking into account what information they will be able to get by looking and whether face masks make it trickier to recognize someone they've seen before. For instance, it might be more helpful to watch someone talking if their mouth is visible or it may be difficult to recognize an acquaintance if they don't have a mask on if you've only ever seen them wear a mask (or vice versa!). Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks have become a part of daily life, and provide a natural way to address these questions.

This study is conducted by Lisa Oakes (contact: lmoakes@ucdavis.edu)

Would you like to participate in this study?

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