Transcript: How Masks are Hurting Facial Recognition | Jun 07, 2021

Steve sits in a room with white walls, a low slanted ceiling and several framed pictures on the walls including one of George Drew. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a white shirt and a striped blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "How masks are hurting facial recognition. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says PRACTICALLY OVERNIGHT, MOST OF US WENT FROM NEVER HAVING WORN A MASK, TO MASKING UP EVERY TIME WE LEAVE THE HOUSE OR ENCOUNTER ANYONE NOT IN OUR BUBBLE. IT'S BEEN CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT FOR PUBLIC HEALTH. BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT WE LIKE IT ALL THAT MUCH. PART OF THAT MIGHT BE THE EFFECT IT HAS ON OUR ABILITY TO READ FACES. WITH US NOW ON HIS RESEARCH ON THAT, FROM THORNHILL, ONTARIO, EREZ FREUD, COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENTIST AND ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AT YORK UNIVERSITY'S CENTRE FOR VISION RESEARCH.

Erez is in his late thirties, balding, with a trimmed beard. He's wearing a black suit and a gray shirt.

Steve continues EREZ, it's GOOD TO HAVE YOU ON TVO TONIGHT. HOW ARE YOU DOING?

Erez says VERY WELL, THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

Steve says GOOD TO HAVE YOU ABOARD. LET'S START WITH SOMETHING. RIGHT BACK TO BASICS: HOW IMPORTANT IS FACIAL PERCEPTION TO HUMAN BEINGS?

The caption changes to "Erez Freud. York University."

Erez says FACE PERCEPTION IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT VISUAL ABILITY WE HAVE AS HUMANS. IT ALLOWS US TO INTERACT WITH OTHER INDIVIDUALS, TO IDENTIFY THEIR GENDER, THEIR EMOTIONS, THEIR IDENTITY. WE USE IT ALL THE TIME. AND WE'RE ACTUALLY SENSITIVE TO ADULT FACES LIKE WHEN WE ARE BORN. RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING OF OUR LIVES. WE KNOW THAT EVEN INFANTS ARE ALREADY SENSITIVE TO THE STRUCTURE OF THE FACE, TWO EYES NOSE AND A MOUTH.

Steve says I HAVE SEEN YOU SPEAK IN THE PAST ABOUT OUR BRAINS PROCESSING FACES... I THINK THE WORD YOU USE IS "HOLISTICALLY." WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Erez says SO WHEN WE PROCESS FACES, WE INTEGRATE THE DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF THE FACE TOGETHER. SO IT'S NOT THE CASE THAT WE PROCESS THE EYES IN ISOLATION AND THEN THE MOUTH AND THE NOSE. NO, WE CREATE A HOLISTIC REPRESENTATION OF THE FACE. WE LOOK ON THE FACE AS A WHOLE. AND THIS IS A VERY UNIQUE CHARACTERISTIC OF FACE PERCEPTION.

Steve says NOW, OF COURSE, WE'RE IN A SITUATION AND HAVE BEEN FOR ABOUT 15 MONTHS WHERE MOST OF US ARE WEARING MASKS A LOT OF THE TIME. CERTAINLY WHENEVER WE LEAVE OUR HOMES. HOW HAS MASK WEARING IMPAIRED OUR ABILITY TO PROCESS FACES?

The caption changes to "Erez Freud, @erezfreud1."

Erez says SO IT'S A GREAT QUESTION. SO OBVIOUSLY, SINCE WE BEGAN USING THE MASK, WE SUDDENLY OCCLUDE PART OF OUR FACE. IT'S NOT SURPRISING THAT OUR FACE PERCEPTION IS IMPAIRED AS THE RESULT OF MASK WEARING. BUT WHAT WE FOUND, IT'S NOT ONLY THAT WE HAVE THIS REDUCTION IN FACE PERCEPTION ABILITIES, IT'S ALSO THE CASE THAT WE'VE PROCESSED FACES DIFFERENTLY. SO INSTEAD OF THIS HOLISTIC PERCEPTION WHICH IS SO VITAL TO SUCCESSFUL FACE PROCESSING, WE PROCESS THE FACES, THE MASKED FACES IN A MORE LOCAL FASHION. LIKE AN AT RICK BEAUTY BY ATTRIBUTE, FEATURE BY FEATURE. RATHER THAN TO PERCEIVE THE FACE AS A WHOLE .

Steve says WHAT'S THE DOWNSIDE OF THAT?

Erez says IT MAKES OUR FACE PERCEPTION ABILITIES LESS SUCCESSFUL AND LESS USEFUL. IT MIGHT ALSO IMPACT OUR ABILITY TO MEMORIZE NEW FACES BECAUSE WE HAVE THIS VERY EFFICIENT METHOD TO IDENTIFY FACES AND NOW WE CANNOT DEPLOY THIS METHOD. SO WE ARE LEFT TO OUR OWN DEVICES IN A SENSE. AND WE NEED TO TRY AND UNDERSTAND... OR TO DECOAT THE CASE IN A DIFFERENT FASHION. WE'RE ACTUALLY FOLLOWING UP THIS STUDY AND WHAT WE FIND IS NOT ONLY THAT OUR FACE PERCEPTION ABILITIES ARE DECREASED FOR MASKED FACES. IT IS ALSO THE CASE THAT WE'RE NOT GETTING ANY BETTER. SO EVEN ONE YEAR. THIS PANDEMIC. OUR FACE PERCEPTION ABILITIES OF MASKED FACES ARE STILL DECREASED IN COMPARISON TO NON-MASKED FACES.

Steve says LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT SOME OF THE TESTING YOU'VE BEEN DOING. I GATHER YOU HAVE TESTED HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE FROM AROUND THE WORLD USING SOMETHING CALLED THE... OR I GUESS A MODIFIED VERSION OF THE CAMBRIDGE FACE MEMORY TEST. JUST GIVE US SORT OF A BRIEF OUTLINE OF WHAT THAT IS.

Erez says SURE. SO WE USE THE CFMT, THE CAMBRIDGE FACE MEMORY TEST, WHICH IS THE MOST STANDARDIZED FACE PERCEPTION TEST OUT THERE. IN THIS TEST, PARTICIPANTS ARE ASKED TO IDENTIFY FACES FROM DIFFERENT ORIENTATIONS AND THEY NEED TO MEMORIZE THE FACES. AND WE ACTUALLY TESTED MORE THAN 1,000 PARTICIPANTS... OVER THE LAST YEAR. IN OUR EXPERIMENT, WE ALSO ADDED MASKS TO THE EXPERIMENT AND WE CAN THEN IDENTIFY THE EFFECT OF MASKS ON PERCEPTUAL ABILITIES.

Steve says LET ME JUMP IN HERE FOR A SECOND, EREZ. WE HAVE A PICTURE OF WHAT YOU DO. TONY BURKE'S SWITCHING TODAY. TONY, CAN I ASK YOU TO BRING THAT UP?

A grayscale picture pops up showing three male faces without masks, and the same three faces below with gray masks on that cover everything from the middle of the nose down.

Steve continues HERE'S A PICTURE SIMILAR TO THE ONES YOU SHOWED PARTICIPANTS IN YOUR TEST. AND OBVIOUSLY... I GUESS I SHOULD EXPLAIN THIS TO PEOPLE WHO ARE LISTENING ON PODCAST AND CAN'T SEE THIS. THERE ARE THREE CIRCLES ON THE TOP WHERE YOU SEE AN ENTIRE FACE AND THEN THERE ARE THREE CIRCUMSTANCE MANIES BELOW WHERE YOU SEE EYES ONLY BECAUSE THE BOTTOM OF THE FACE FROM NOSE TO CHIN IS COVERED BY A MASK . NOW, HOW MUCH DID ADDING THE MASK, EREZ, HINDER A PARTICIPANT'S ABILITY TO READ FACES WHEN YOU WERE TESTING THIS?

Erez says WHAT WE FOUND IS THESE ADDITIONAL... WHEN WE ADD THE MASK WE HAVE A DECREASE OF ABOUT 15 percent IN RECOGNITION ABILITY. AND, AGAIN, THIS REDUCTION IN FACE PERCEPTION IS QUITE SIGNIFICANT. THINK ABOUT THAT. 15 percent OF OUR INITIAL ABILITY TO IDENTIFY INDIVIDUALS IS IMPAIRED BECAUSE OF THE MASK.

Steve says I'M SURPRISED IT'S ONLY 15 percent. AND I TELL YOU THAT BECAUSE IN MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OVER THE LAST 15 MONTHS, I FREQUENTLY RUN INTO PEOPLE IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OR WHEREVER... OUT FOR A WALK... AND I KNOW THEM. BUT I DON'T RECOGNIZE THEM WHEN THEY'RE FACE IS COVERED FROM NOSE TO CHIN. IS IT REALLY ONLY 15 percent? BECAUSE IT FEELS A LOT MORE THAN THAT TO ME.

Erez says IT'S 15 percent IN AVERAGE. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE MORE AFFECTED BY THE MASK WHILE OTHERS DO NOT SHOW THE EFFECT AT ALL. AND, AGAIN, IT WILL REFLECT THAT WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT IN OUR ABILITY TO PERCEIVE FACES. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE REALLY GOOD IN FACE PERCEPTION. WHILE OTHERS ARE PRETTY BAD. I THINK THE EFFECT OF THE MASK MIRRORS THESE KIND OF SENSITIVITIES TO FACE INFORMATION. SO IT MIGHT BE THE CASE. I DON'T KNOW. BUT IT MIGHT BE THE CASE. WE USUALLY LOOK AT THE LOWER PART OF THE FACE AND RELY ON THIS PART TO PERCEIVE THE FACE MORE. THIS IS THE REASON WHY YOU FIND IT VERY DIFFICULT TO RECOGNIZE AND IDENTIFY PEOPLE WHO WEAR MASKS.

Steve says THAT MAKES A LOT OF SENSE. BECAUSE THE OTHER DAY I'M GOING A LITTLE OFF THE PATH HERE. BUT THE OTHER DAY I WENT FOR MY SECOND VACCINE. AND THERE WAS SOMEBODY ELSE THERE. WHO I KNEW EXEMPT I DIDN'T KNOW THEM BECAUSE THEY WERE WEARING THEIR MASK. AS SOON AS THEY SPOKE, I RECOGNIZED THE VOICE. BUT I DIDN'T RECOGNIZE THEIR FACE FROM THE MASK COVERING. I'M BAD, HEY?

Erez says WE KNOW THAT A PERSON'S RECOGNITION RELIES NOT ONLY ON FACES. WE HAVE BIOLOGICAL NOTIONS, THE WAY THAT WE MOVE, WE HAVE VOICE. AND WE KNOW THAT PEOPLE WHO SUFFER FROM FACIAL RECOGNITION DISABILITIES, WE CALL THOSE INDIVIDUALS... OR THEY SUFFER FROM FACE BLINDNESS. THEY ACTUALLY UTILIZE THOSE EXTERNAL CUES, THOSE OTHER CUES TO COMPENSATE FOR THEIR INABILITY TO IDENTIFY FACES. AND I GUESS THAT WHAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW IS THAT IF WE ALL TO SOME EXTENT USE THOSE OTHER CUES TO COMPENSATE FOR THE MASK EFFECT.

Steve says THAT'S A BIG WORD THAT I HAVEN'T HEARD BEFORE. PROSOPROGNOSTIC?

Erez says YES, IT REFERS TO TWO TYPES. ONE IS ACQUIRED AFTER A BRAIN INJURY. A STROKE. THE SPECIFIC LOCATIONS IN THE VISUAL SYSTEM IN THE VISUAL CORTEX. IN THE REGION WHICH IS CALLED THE FUSED FACE REGION. AND THE OTHER TYPE OF PROSOPROGNOSTIC IS DEVELOPMENTAL OR CONTEN TAL PROSOPROGNOSTIC. THOSE ARE INDIVIDUALS WHO FROM BIRTH EXHIBIT DIFFICULTIES IN RECOGNITION OF OTHER INDIVIDUALS. TO THE EXTENT THAT THOSE INDIVIDUALS CANNOT IDENTIFY THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS, THEMSELVES, THEIR CLOSE FRIENDS. AGAIN, THEY RELY ON EXTERNAL CUES, ON, FOR EXAMPLE, A MOUSTACHE OR SPECIFIC TYPE OF CLOTHES. AND THEY ARE VERY SENSITIVE TO CHANGES IN THOSE CUES. SAY, FOR EXAMPLE, I WOULD DO, IN MY CASE IT'S PROBABLY NOT FAIR BUT THE HAIRCUT FOR ME MIGHT CONFUSE INDIVIDUALS WITH PROSOPROGNOSTIC.

Steve says I GATHER YOU HAVE OTHER STUDIES THAT SHOW THAT MASK WEARING CAN INCREASE SOLIDARITY BETWEEN SOME PEOPLE. HOW DOES THAT WORK?

Erez says THIS LINE OF RESEARCH IS NOT FROM MY LAB. BUT THERE ARE REPORTS THAT SHOW THAT PEOPLE WHO LOOK ON FACES WITH MASKS FIND THEM TO BE MORE ATTRACTIVE AND THEY EVEN INCREASE THE SOLIDARITY WITH THOSE INDIVIDUALS. OBVIOUSLY WE STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OR WHAT MEDIATE THOSE EFFECTS. ONE OPTION IS THE FACT THAT WE SEE OTHER PEOPLE WEAR MASKS, WE FEEL, OKAY, WE'RE IN THIS TOGETHER. WE'RE FIGHTING THIS PANDEMIC TOGETHER. AND THOSE INDIVIDUALS DO THE RIGHT THING AND WEAR A MASK. AND, THEREFORE, WE FIND THAT WE EVALUATE THEM MORE POSITIVELY. AGAIN, THIS IS NOT MY LINE OF RESEARCH. SO I WOULDN'T KNOW. BUT OBVIOUSLY MASKS ARE HERE AND THEY'RE SOMETHING, I GUESS, THAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE IN THE FOE SEEABLE FUTURE. AND, THEREFORE, WE HAVE SPECIFIC FEELINGS ABOUT PEOPLE WHO WEAR MASKS OR PEOPLE WHO DO NOT WEAR MASKS, OBVIOUSLY.

Steve says LET ME FOLLOW UP ON THAT BY ASKING A QUESTION FROM SORT OF THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN. IT'S A BIT OF A STRANGE QUESTION. BUT... WELL, LET ME JUST HIT THIS ON THE HEAD. THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO ARE OBJECTIVELY LESS ATTRACTIVE THAN OTHER PEOPLE. AND I WONDER WHETHER MASK WEARING MAKES PEOPLE MORE ATTRACTIVE BECAUSE YOU CANNOT SOME HOW SEE THE FLAWS IN THEIR FACE. I DON'T KNOW, HELP ME OUT WITH THIS ONE.

Erez says SO THERE IS ONE REPORT THAT SHOWS THIS REDUCTION IN THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF FACES WHEN THEY DO NOT WEAR MASKS. THERE ARE MANY REASONS FOR THIS EFFECT. ONE EFFECT... ONE EXPLANATION CAN BE THE FACT THAT WE FIND THE AVERAGE FACE TO BE MORE ATTRACTIVE. AND IF YOU NOW HIDE, RIGHT, THE LOWER PART OF THE FACE, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THERE IS THERE. SO YOUR BRAIN TO SOME EXTENT CAN COMPLETE THIS MISSING PART AND MAKE IT AN AVERAGE. WHICH MAKES THE FACE TO BE PERCEIVED MORE ATTRACTIVE. ANOTHER EXPLANATION COULD BE THE FACT THAT, AGAIN, A FACE WHICH IS COVERED BY A MASK IS PERCEIVED AS MOST SYMMETRICAL. AND WE PERCEIVE MORE SYMMETRICAL FACES TO BE MORE ATTRACTIVE. SO THERE ARE DIFFERENT REASONS THAT CAN EXPLAIN THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE MASKED FACES.

Steve says LET ME ASK YOU A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS ABOUT KIDS. ARE CHILDREN BETTER OR WORSE AT THIS THAN ADULTS?

Erez says IT'S A GREAT QUESTION. WE CONDUCTED ONE STUDY HERE WITH SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN AND WE FOUND OUT THAT CHILDREN ARE AFFECTED FROM THE MASK EFFECT. AND ACTUALLY THEY'RE MORE AFFECTED FROM THE MASK EFFECT THAN ADULTS. TO SOME EXTENT. SO THE DEGREE THAT WE FOUND IN ACCUITY IS AROUND 20 percent. IN ONTARIO KIDS ARE NOT GOING TO SCHOOL IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS SO THEY EXPERIENCE LESS INTERACTION WITH PEOPLE WITH MASKS. RIGHT? I HAVE TWO KIDS HERE THAT STAYED AT HOME AND LEARNED FROM THEIR COMPUTERS. SO OBVIOUSLY THEY'RE NOW EXPOSED TO FACES WITH NO MASK ALL THE TIME. SO I GUESS THAT THEY DO NOT EVEN HAVE THE ABILITY TO GET USED TO THOSE MASKED FACES.

Steve says HMM. SO LET ME DO A FOLLOW-UP ON THAT. THAT IS, LET'S SAY AT SOME POINT IN THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF YOU HAD A BABY. AND THAT BABY HAS SPENT THE FIRST YEAR AND A HALF OF HIS OR HER LIFE... I MEAN PRESUMABLY THE PARENTS AREN'T MASKED UP BUT PRESUMABLY ALMOST EVERYBODY ELSE IN THAT CHILD'S LIFE HAVE BEEN WEARING MASKS. DO WE HAVE ANY UNDERSTANDING AS TO WHETHER THERE ARE ANY LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES OF THAT?

Erez says AGAIN, IT'S A GREAT QUESTION. WE KNOW THAT EXPERIENCE IS VITAL TO SHAPE FACE PERCEPTION ABILITIES. MONKEYS, FOR EXAMPLE, WHO WERE RAISED WITHOUT SEEING FACES DID NOT DEVELOP THE SAME BRAIN MECHANISMS TO PROCESS FACES. HOWEVER, AT THE SAME TIME, I WOULD SAY THAT EVEN INFANT OR BABIES THAT WERE BORN IN THE TIMES OF THE PANDEMIC ARE STILL EXPOSED TO SOME FACES. THEY'RE EXPOSED TO FACES OVER ZOOM OR IN THEIR SCREENS SO I GUESS THAT THEY DO GET SOME EXPERIENCE WITH FACES OF OTHER INDIVIDUALS. WE DON'T KNOW YET IF THERE ARE IMPLICATIONS ON FACE PERCEPTION ABILITIES. BUT IT IS IMPORTANT TO SAY THAT THE FACE PERCEPTION SYSTEM, THE FACE PROCESSING SYSTEM, IS STILL FLEXIBLE AND THERE IS SOME LEVEL OF PLASTICITY EVEN LATER IN OUR CHILDHOOD.

Steve says DOES IT NOT STAND TO REASON THOUGH THAT IF THE ONLY FACES YOU HAVE SEEN AS A BABY OR AS A CHILD ARE ON A TELEVISION SCREEN, AS OPPOSED TO IN PERSON, THAT THAT SOME HOW HAS TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON YOUR ABILITY TO READ FACES AS YOU AGE?

Erez says OF COURSE, OF COURSE. SO IF WE HAVE... IF WE LIMIT THE EXPERIENCE THAT BABIES HAVE WITH FACES, WE MIGHT LIMIT TO SOME EXTENT THEIR ABILITIES TO IDENTIFY OTHER FACES. AGAIN, FROM RESEARCH THAT WAS DONE WE KNOW THAT THERE IS A THING WHICH IS CALLED THE OTHER WAYS EFFECT. THEY HAVE AN ADVANTAGE IN RECOGNIZING INDIVIDUALS FROM OUR OWN CULTURE, FROM OUR OWN RACE BECAUSE WE ARE EXPOSED TO THOSE INDIVIDUALS MORE. IF YOU ACTUALLY EXPOSE BABIES TO INDIVIDUALS FROM OTHER RACES, THEY DO NOT SHOW THIS EFFECT. SO IT IS THE CASE THAT EXPERIENCE SHAPES OUR FACE PERCEPTION ABILITIES. BUT I STILL BELIEVE THAT BABIES STILL GET THE SUFFICIENT AMOUNT OF EXPERIENCE WITH FACES TO DEVELOP A NORMAL FACE PERCEPTION ABILITIES EVEN THESE DAYS. AND I HOPE... I HOPE THAT THIS IS THE CASE. WE DON'T KNOW YET. WE DIDN'T DO THE RESEARCH. AND ONE THING TO REMEMBER, IT'S NOW SUMMER. PEOPLE ARE WORKING OUTSIDE WITH NO MASKS ON. SO BABIES WILL GET EVEN MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO GAIN THIS IMPORTANT EXPERIENCE WITH UNMASKED FACES.

Steve says UNDERSTOOD. ALL RIGHT. WELL, THIS NEXT QUESTION MAY NOT BE ANSWERABLE BECAUSE, OF COURSE, I'M TRYING TO FIND OUT WHETHER FIVE YEARS OR TEN YEARS DOWN THE ROAD, WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES OF ALL OF THIS MIGHT BE. AND THE FACT IS, YOU KNOW, YOU ONLY HAVE RESEARCH FROM THE LAST 15 MONTHS TO DRAW UPON. BUT HAVING SAID THAT, DO YOU HAVE ANY INFORMED SPECULATION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT WHAT WE'VE GONE THROUGH OVER THE PAST 15 MONTHS MAY HAVE... NEVER MIND KIDS NOW... ADULTS. ARE WE GOING TO HAVE LONG-RANGE CONSEQUENCES TO THAT WHICH WE'VE EXPERIENCED OVER THE LAST 15 MONTHS?

Erez says SO FOR THIS QUESTION, I THINK THAT I PROBABLY CAN HAVE AN ANSWER. SO SO FAR WE DID NOT FIND ANY CHANGES IN FACE PERCEPTION ABILITIES OVER THE LAST 15 MONTHS. SO WE ARE NOT GETTING WORSE WITH UNMASKED FACES AND WE'RE NOT GETTING BETTER WITH MASKED FACES. SO IT SEEMS AS IF OUR FACE PROCESSING SYSTEM... AT LEAST IN ADULTHOOD, IS QUITE RIGID. TALES NOT THE CASE THAT WE CAN ACTUALLY TRAIN IT TO BECOME MUCH BETTER OR MUCH WORSE. SO THERE ARE GOOD NEWS: WE'RE GOING TO BE ARE THE EVER ALL RIGHT IN TERMS OF IDENTIFYING UNMASKED FACES. AND THE BAD NEWS IS THAT IT DOESN'T INDICATE THAT WE'RE GOING TO GET BETTER OR MUCH BETTER WITH MASKED FACES.

Steve says DOES RACIAL BACKGROUND PLAY AT ALL IN OUR ABILITY TO PERCEIVE PEOPLE'S FACES OR HAVE DIFFICULTY PERCEIVING PEOPLE'S FACES?

Erez says SO AS I MENTIONED BEFORE, THERE IS A WELL KNOWN PHENOMENA WHICH IS CALLED THE OTHER RACE EFFECT. PEOPLE ARE BETTER IN RECOGNIZING PEOPLE FROM THEIR CULTURE AND THEIR SOCIETY. BUT THIS EFFECT IS CULTURAL IN NATURE. SO IT MEANS THAT IF YOU GROW UP IN A MORE DIVERSE SOCIETY, IN A MORE DIVERSE CULTURE, YOU ARE LESS LIKELY TO SHOW THIS OTHER RACE EFFECT.

Steve says UNDERSTOOD. OKAY, EREZ, I KNOW YOU GET THIS QUESTION ALL THE TIME. BUT I KNOW EVERYBODY WHO IS WATCH SOMETHING CURIOUS. YOUR LAST NAME IS FREUD. ARE YOU RELATED TO SIGMUND FREUD?

Erez says YEAH, BUT IT'S PRETTY FAR AWAY. MY GRANDFATHER WAS A SECOND COUSIN OF SIGMUND FREUD.

Steve says BUT YOU ARE ACTUALLY RELATED TO HIM. THAT'S FASCINATING.

Erez says THANKS.

Steve says PERHAPS NOT ALL THAT UNUSUAL THAT YOU ENDED UP IN SORT OF THE SAME PROFESSION.

Erez says YES, I HAVE MY PH.D. IN PSYCHOLOGY, AFTER ALL.

The caption changes to "Producer: Harrison Lowman, @harrisonlowman."

Steve says THERE YOU GO. IT'S BEEN GREAT TO HAVE YOU ON "THE AGENDA" TONIGHT. THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP ON THIS.

Erez says THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME.

Watch: How Masks are Hurting Facial Recognition