Etiquette Boss: Appearances do matter
We all know that our physical appearance is important, but that’s only half the story. The other half might be more important than the first.
The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology reported the results of research that looked into people’s perception of others based solely on visual cues; especially clothing. Repeatedly, people attached attributes to others based solely on the way they appeared. A smartly dressed person was credited with being more intelligent, a leader, and given a host of other qualities not bestowed on the less impressively dressed person.
That was no big surprise to me. The surprising twist was the study of the people who were mistakenly identified as possessing traits that they did not have. Those people displayed remarkable changes in behavior that closely matched the mistaken perception. For example, a person who wore a coat that resembled a doctor’s coat, and was frequently mistaken for a doctor, began to act with more authority, and subsequently gained more personal power than those who were actual doctors, but were constantly mistaken for bikers because of their tattoos.
How does this research affect you and me? When we try to improve our appearance, and we are mistaken for a younger person, our step gets more perky; stamina and overall posture improve. However, if we are constantly mistaken for someone older, we eventually begin to act and look older. You see, your appearance can affect how others treat you, and eventually, how you treat yourself. It’s not just about vanity.