Why appearance matters or “to behave as if”

by [anonymous] 1 min read31st Aug 201417 comments


"*checking the name of the writer* Ooookay, this article about appearance is written by a woman. As was expected. It's probably not worth to read it..."

If you thought something like this you confirmed how prejudices dominate our mind. And even if you didn't think something like that, you can't argue its importance away.

prejudices and stereotypes

Prejudice is prejudgment, or forming an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case. (wikipedia)

The cognitive function of stereotypes is to help make sense of the world. They are a form of categorization that helps to simplify and systematize information. Thus, information is more easily identified, recalled, predicted, and reacted to. (wikipedia)

Prejudices and stereotypes might be useful and also harmful in some situations, but they definitely exist with all their advantages and disadvantages. They are based on the fastest available information. General assumptions about latent variables (such as intelligence and character) are made ​​on external  factors such as behavior and appearance.

Pygmalion effect/self-fulfilling prophecy

The Pygmalion effect, or Rosenthal effect, is the phenomenon whereby the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform.[1] (Or the observer thinks it would be so!) A corollary of the Pygmalion effect is the golem effect, in which low expectations lead to a decrease in performance. (wikipedia)

So what others (and we) expect from us influences how they and we behave and therefore influences our future and what we become!

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias, also called myside bias, is the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's beliefs or hypotheses. (wikipedia)

Because it is easier to confirm people in their presumption than to convince them otherwise, it's a good decision to look like you want people to think you are as a person.

Minority influence/innovation

Majority influence refers to the majority trying to produce conformity on the minority, while minority influence is converting the majority to adopt the thinking of the minority group.[1] Unlike other forms of influence, minority influence usually involves a personal shift in private opinion. Minority influence is also a central component of identity politics.(wikipedia)

Minorities have a bigger impact when they: are consistent, are part of the ingroup and differ just in this one point (Idiosynkrasiekredit). As an example, your chances are higher to convince others to legalize cannabis if you wear suits instead of dreadlocks and hippie clothes. Your influence is therefore likely to be bigger if you behave and look like a adapted or even successful person.


Since what others think of you will modify your self-evaluation, your appearance will influence your self-evaluation, too. Also by direct feedback when looking in the mirror.

further thoughts/questions:
  • probably only people who thought about this already will be attracted by the topic and read this article ^^
  • in the opposite way: being dressed to well might make you look stupid (imagine a "Barbie" talking about AI)
  • To which extend is it useful to "behave as if"?
  • What do you think about this thoughts in general?

My personal background: I tried lots of different styles (bold, dreadlocks, gothic, sporty, well-dressed ... ) and experienced big effects on how people behaved towards me.(pictures)