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Nature Human Behaviour

DongWon Oh  (New York University), Eldar Shafir, Alexander Todorov (Princeton University)

New York University

Posted by Rebecca Robbins
Becca is Deputy Chief Editor.

Economic status cues from clothes affect perceived competence from faces

People living in poverty face a persistent disrespect by the rest of society.

1 month ago by Arina Zakharova

Impressions of competence from faces predict important real-world outcomes, including electoral success and chief executive officer selection. Presumed competence is associated with social status. And previous research has shown that people are sensitive to how rich or poor other individuals appear.

“Our work show that on top of that, people are susceptible to these cues when judging others on meaningful traits, like competence, and these cues are hard to ignore if not impossible,” said DongWon Oh, corresponding author of the study, published today in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

People living in poverty face a persistent disrespect by the rest of society.

Researchers found that such disrespect — clearly unfounded because in their studies the identical face was seen as less competent when it appeared with poorer clothing — can have its beginnings in the first tenth of a second of an encounter. The effect persisted even when perceivers were exposed to the stimuli briefly (129 ms).

Molière most likely did write his own plays

27 Nov 2019

The findings demonstrate the uncontrollable effect of economic status cues on person perception. They add yet another hurdle to the challenges faced by low-status individuals.