Dressing down 'could actually help boost your social status'
A new study has said that dressing down has the potential to increase a person's perceived success.
Authors Silvia Bellezza, Francesca Gino, and Anat Keinan (all Harvard University), said that they proposed that, under certain conditions, nonconforming behaviors can be more beneficial to someone than simply trying to fit in. In other words, when it looks deliberate, a person can appear to have a higher status and sense of competency.
Across five laboratory and field studies, the authors looked at the role of nonconformity in different populations. The collective results suggest that people attribute higher status and competence to individuals who are nonconforming (rather than conforming) in prestigious contexts with expected norms of formal conduct.
In one study, students were asked to rank the perceived professional status of a professor who was employed at either a local college or a top-tier university and who was either clean-shaven and in a business suit or who had a beard and was wearing a t-shirt. As the researchers predicted, the students attributed significantly more status and competence to the unshaven professor at the top-tier university.
The new study has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
(Posted on 12-02-2014)