: COVID-19 is severely affecting individuals' lives worldwide. Previous research warned that facial occlusion may impair facial emotion recognition, whilst other findings suggested that age-related differences may be relevant in emotion recognition in others' faces. However, studies observing individuals' ability to interpret others' facial mimicry are heterogenous, thus precluding the generalizability of the findings. This preliminary study examined age-related differences and the influence of different covering types (with and without face masks) in determining different levels of facial emotion recognition. 131 participants were split into 3 age-groups (10-14; 15-17; 20-25) and were asked to complete an emotion recognition task. Participants were better able to recognize facial emotions without any occlusion, and happiness was the most recognizable emotion. Moreover, adolescent group performed better in recognizing anger and fear in stimuli depicting masked and unmasked faces. Current results suggest the importance of monitoring emotion recognition abilities in developing individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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