Do we look at persons currently or previously affected by COVID-19 the same way as we do with healthy ones? In this eye-tracking study, we investigated how participants (N = 54) looked at faces of individuals presented as “COVID-19 Free”, “Sick with COVID-19”, or “Recovered from COVID-19”. Results showed that participants tend to look at the eyes of COVID-19-free faces longer than at those of both COVID-19- related faces. Crucially, we also found an increase of visual attention for the mouth of the COVID-19-related faces, possibly due to the threatening characterisation of such area as a transmission vehicle for SARS-CoV-2. Thus, by detailing how people dynamically changed the way of looking at faces as a function of the perceived risk of contagion, we provide the first evidence in the literature about the impact of the pandemic on the most basic level of social interaction.
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