Printer Friendly

People Judge Competency Within Milliseconds Just By Looking At Clothes.

A new ( study published in Nature Human Behavior found out that wealth inequality in the United States worsened in the 1980s, with the gap between the top 1 percent and the middle class now at 1,000,000 percent.

Unfortunately, society meets ( poverty with disrespect rather than a sense of respect for the struggles and challenges that people who experience it have to face. In fact, the researchers of the new study found that this disrespect actually begins within milliseconds of meeting the person.

'Richer' Or 'Poorer' Clothing

Researchers began their study by asking a group of judges to determine whether the 50 images of faces wearing different clothes looked either "richer" or "poorer" by asking the question: "How rich or poor does this person look?"

A separate group of judges also described the clothing in the images to make sure that they did not show extreme wealth or poverty, and only one out of 4,725 times did the words "rich," "poor," or any synonyms were mentioned.

Out of the images, the researchers chose 18 black and 18 white faces that displayed the most obvious but not extreme rich-poor differences and used them for nine studies. Half of the faces were wearing "rich" upper body clothes while the other half had "poor" upper body clothes.

Gut Feelings

Participants of the study were told that the researchers simply wanted to see how people evaluate others' appearances. They were then shown the "richer" and "poorer" images and tasked to evaluate the competence of the faces on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 9 (extremely) based on their gut feelings alone.

The participants saw the images for three different lengths of time, from one second to 130 milliseconds, but the ratings remained the same for all time durations. Specifically, regardless of the time duration given to the participants, the faces with clothing deemed as "richer" were perceived as significantly more competent than the faces with "poorer" clothing.

The researchers conducted the study nine times, each time tweaking little details by changing the suits to non-formal clothing, providing information about the faces' profession and income, explicitly instructing the participants to disregard the clothing, or even changing the faces in the images, but the results remained the same.

In the final study, the researchers even removed the individual rating and instead showed the participants two images to choose the more competent face from, but the results were consistent with the earlier studies.

Clothing Cues

The results of the study show that people's judgment of others' competency gets influenced by clothing cues that suggest the person's economic status. Simply put, if a person appears to be wearing "poorer" clothing, their competency is deemed to be lower than that of a person wearing "richer" clothing. And, all of this happens within milliseconds of meeting someone.

"Our work found that people are susceptible to these cues when judging others on meaningful traits, like competence, and that these cues are hard, if not impossible, to ignore," study lead DongWon Oh of New York University's Department of Psychology ( said.

As such, the researchers note that, in order to overcome such biases, it is important not only to be aware of them but also to have the time, resources and motivation to counter them.
COPYRIGHT 2019 Newsweek Media Group
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2019 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Athena Chan
Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Dec 12, 2019
Previous Article:iPhone, iPad Tip: How To Set Communication Limits For Children.
Next Article:Earth Building Materials Include Stardust From Red Giants, Study Finds.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters