What does the “face cover” mean?

Dr. Matsumoto suggests that covering one’s face could be rooted in not letting enemies see your emotions from an evolutionary perspective.

Dr. Matsumoto suggests that covering one’s face could be an evolutionary reaction in not letting enemies see your emotions.

(From Humintell’s blog) We often see athletes and individuals in high stress, emotional situations do what Dr. Matsumoto calls a “face cover”.

But why exactly do people cover their face in emotional and stressful times?

Some individuals believe that the face cover is only a part of social communication, but Dr. Matsumoto believes that it is not. He believes that individuals often cover their face to conceal their emotions and that it is an immediate reaction that most people cannot control.

Dr. Matsumoto also suggests that covering one’s face could also have some evolutionary basis, rooted in not letting enemies see your emotions because it could potentially be a danger to your well-being. Nonetheless, this gesture is immediate and unconscious.

Keep your eye out for this behavior and you’ll surprisingly see it fairly frequently (you may even catch yourself doing it!)

Copied directly from Humintell’s website. For more information on emotions, click through to their website.

About Stu Dunn

Becoming proficient with non verbal communication and teaching what I’ve learnt over the years has become an absolute passion of mine; starting with beginning the SDL Behavioural Science Facebook Page, then set up my first online course in 2011, and my first book on the subject True Lies, A Guide to Reading Faces, Interpreting Body Language & Detecting Deception in the Real World was published in 2013. During this time I’ve helped thousands of people around the world become proficient in reading body language, micro expressions and detecting deception – and I’d love to help you too.
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