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Dressed to Present: Ratings of Classroom Presentations Vary With Attire



This study investigates the effects of formality of dress on ratings of classroom presentations. Participants (N = 65, 66% women) from a Midwestern university in the United States rated three female students giving a presentation designed for a health psychology class in one of four outfits: casual, party, business casual, or business formal. Participants rated the business formal–dressed presenters higher than both casual and party–dressed presenters on overall presentation quality but not higher than business casual–dressed participants. Our results provide strong empirical evidence that dressing formally not only influences presentation scores but also suggest that students do not completely recognize how clothing differs in appropriateness for presentations.
Teaching of Psychology
The online version of this article can be found at:
DOI: 10.1177/0098628314549710
published online 11 September 2014Teaching of Psychology
Regan A. R. Gurung, Laura Kempen, Kayla Klemm, Rebecca Senn and Rosie Wysocki
Dressed to Present: Ratings of Classroom Presentations Vary With Attire
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Dressed to Present: Ratings of Classroom
Presentations Vary With Attire
Regan A. R. Gurung
, Laura Kempen
, Kayla Klemm
Rebecca Senn
, and Rosie Wysocki
This study investigates the effects of formality of dress on ratings of classroom presentations. Participants (N¼65, 66% women)
from a Midwestern university in the United States rated three female students giving a presentation designed for a health psychology
class in one of four outfits: casual, party, business casual, or business formal. Participants rated the business formal–dressed pre-
senters higher than both casual and party–dressed presenters on overall presentation quality but not higher than business casual–
dressed participants. Our results provide strong empirical evidence that dressing formally not only influences presentation scores
but also suggest that students do not completely recognize how clothing differs in appropriateness for presentations.
oral presentations, clothing, impression formation
Our clothing influences others’ perceptions of our intelligence,
competence, and professionalism (Cardon & Okoro, 2009;
Sunnafrank, 2004). Unfortunately, many students do not dress
professionally when giving classroom presentations. One has to
work hard to deliver an effective presentation. From the back-
ground research, to the layout and delivery, students invest a
great deal of time and effort in preparation. However, not all
students appear to consider how their clothing choices may
play a role in how they are perceived. In this study, we exam-
ined how a student’s appearance during a presentation influ-
ences how audiences rate her.
Clothing is a critical part of impression formation and can
influence perceptions of competence. For example, observers
rated female Olympic athletes in provocative clothing as pos-
sessing significantly lower competence (i.e., strength, determi-
nation, and intelligence) than when they were seen in normal
attire (Johnson & Gurung, 2011). In a similar study, Glick,
Larsen, Johnson, and Branstiter (2005) found that when a
woman in a high status position (i.e., manager) was dressed
provocatively (i.e., tight knee-length skirt, low-cut shirt with
a cardigan, and high-heeled shoes), she was judged to be less
intelligent and competent at her job than when she was dressed
conservatively (i.e., slacks, turtleneck, business jacket, and
flat-heeled shoes). Would clothing differences during a class
presentation also similarly lead to differences in perceptions
of perception quality? Although many college classes involve
student presentations, we could not find any research addres-
sing if clothing choice influenced presentation ratings.
Clothing and attire play important roles in perceptions of
competence in the workplace (Glick, Larsen, Johnson, &
Branstiter, 2005; Peluchette, Karl, & Rust, 2006) and the
college classroom (Gurung & Vespia, 2007; Morris, Gorham,
Cohen, & Huffman, 1996; Rahimi & Liston, 2009). In one
study, both students and professors rated others dressed in
‘artsy’’ or ‘‘dressy’’ styles as being higher in intelligence and
academic achievement (Behling & Williams, 1991). In another
study, students perceived professors dressed formally to be
more credible, intelligent, and competent but less likeable and
approachable (Carr, Davies, & Lavin, 2010). Although students
saw professors who wore less formal attire as friendlier, more
understanding, and more relatable, students felt professors who
dressed more professionally had higher intellects and deserved
their respect. Similarly, professional attire increases student
perceptions of the wearer’s competence, composure, and
knowledge (Morris et al., 1996).
Research on student attire is limited. In an early study,
Jacobson (1945) found that clothing played an important role
in college students’ formation of first impressions of their
classmates. Attributes of clothing and grooming, such as har-
mony of outfit, suitability of attire, and cleanliness/neatness
of outfit, generated 45%of first impression comments. Intelli-
gent women commented more on their acquaintances’ clothing
than less intelligent women. In a more recent study, female
teachers formed perceptions about their female students’ sex-
ual activity from their students’ attire, correlating higher sexual
University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, WI, USA
Corresponding Author:
Regan A. R. Gurung, University of Wisconsin, 2420 Nicolet Drive,
MACH-C311, Green Bay, WI 54311, USA.
Teaching of Psychology
ªThe Author(s) 2014
Reprints and permission:
DOI: 10.1177/0098628314549710
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activity with more provocative or ‘‘sexy’’ clothing (Rahimi &
Liston, 2009).
University-level students do consider appearance important
in the workforce, especially in an interview setting and in pro-
motional considerations (Sweat, Kelley, Blouin, & Glee,
1981). Female students with career experience and students
who believed they would have consistent contact with clients
were more likely to view career attire as an important factor
(Sweat et al., 1981). We did not find evidence for similar con-
cerns about appearance in campus settings. It is likely that stu-
dents do not see college as a setting where they need to be
aware of self-presentation.
It is possible students do not know what looking ‘‘profes-
sional’’ really means. A number of studies help define profes-
sional clothing (Hymowitz, 2003). Participants rated business
dress as the most professional followed by ‘‘business casual’
(BC) and then casual (Ruetzler, Taylor, Reynolds, Baker, &
Killen, 2012). Business dress, or ‘‘business formal’’ (BF), for
women was defined as a suit, pencil skirt, blouse, pantyhose,
and low-heeled shoes. The color of the outfit can also make a
difference. Ruetzler et al. also found that darker shades such
as black, navy, and gray, are rated as being the most profes-
sional. A major contradiction in the findings of Ruetzler
et al. study suggests one reason why students may not dress
up appropriately for presentations: Students rated trendy
clothes as being most professional. It is likely that trendiness
within the categories overruled ratings between categories.
Much of the past research is tailored toward the workplace
or student perceptions of professors. Our study aimed to exam-
ine new and current definitions of professional dress. Together
with examining how clothing influences peers’ ratings of pre-
sentation elements including performance quality (defined by
previous research), we explored students’ perceptions of appro-
priateness of clothing. We hypothesized that participants would
rate professionally dressed presenters higher on presentation
quality than presenters dressed casually.
Participants (N¼65) included undergraduate students at a pre-
dominantly White, mid-sized Midwestern university in the
United States (91%White, 36%men, 64%women). We
recruited respondents largely from introductory psychology
and human development courses using a department partici-
pant pool. Participants were first- (60%), second- (22%), third-
(12%), and fourth- (6%) year students ranging in age from 18 to
37, M¼19.97, SD ¼2.71. We compensated participants with
research credits that counted as a part of their grade in their
Visual stimuli. We recruited three women, students from campus
known to the research team, to serve as models. We selected
women who were similar in attractiveness, body shape, and
stature (although we did not pilot test the models to confirm the
similarity). We limited the study to female models only to keep
sex of presenters constant. We gave each woman a slide with a
summary of a research study related to health mirroring a class-
room assignment from the first author’s health psychology
class. We created three slides, one for each model, with similar
content (e.g., title, authors, and main finding) and visual look
(e.g., all had an image relating to the study). We told models
to bring in four outfits that fit our four conditions. For the
‘party’’ condition, we told models to bring in an outfit they
would wear to a party. For the BC condition, we told models
to bring in a blouse and dress pants or a skirt. For the BF con-
dition, we told models to bring in a suit of slacks and jacket. For
the ‘‘casual’’ condition, we told models to bring in jeans and a
sweatshirt (screen shots available on request). Models brought
in a number of clothing options for each condition and four stu-
dent members of the research team selected outfits for the
model for each condition that met the criteria for the given con-
dition. Each model gave her ‘‘presentation’’ 4 times, once in
each set of clothing. We asked the model to summarize the
study while we videotaped the first 20 s of the presentation;
both the model and PowerPoint slide behind her were visible
in the frame. We used the first 10 s of the presentation for the
study, given past research showing that thin slices of behavior
are enough for impression formation (Borkenau, Mauer, Rie-
mann, Spinath, & Angleitner, 2004).
Dependent variables. We measured presentation quality using 10
descriptor words derived from previous research on presenta-
tions (Christie & Collyner, 2005; Garcia-Ros, 2011). The
descriptors represent items often seen on an instructor’s rubric
for rating presentations: engaging, professional, informative,
flowed well, speaker confidence, speaker clear, slide well
designed, speaker appropriately dressed, speaker credible, and
speaker knowledgeable. Participants rated each term on a 1
(strongly disagree)to5(strongly agree) Likert-type scale.
We summed variables in each category to create a composite
score. Internal reliability was high, Cronbach’s a¼.94.
To test if the manipulation of the independent variable was
successful, participants rated the extent to which the speaker’s
outfit would be likely to be considered casual, fit to go to a
party, BC, or BF using a 1 (very unlikely)to7(very likely)
Likert-type scale. At the end of the survey, we had participants
use the same scale to rate how appropriate wearing different
clothing items to school, would be (suit, jeans, jewelry, tights,
jeggings/meggings, cardigan, tank tops, button down shirts,
sheer clothing).
We used a single factor independent/between-subjects design
with four levels of the factor ‘‘Clothing’’—casual, party, BC,
and BF. Participants completed the study online. We sent stu-
dent volunteers for the study a link to our survey. Participants
first saw a consent form, completed a few demographic ques-
tions, and then watched three presentations. We used three
2Teaching of Psychology
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models and presentations to ensure that findings would not be
specific to one person/topic. We set the number of presenta-
tions to three, to prevent fatigue. Each presentation was 10 s
long and featured a different model and topic. Participants rated
each presentation and completed the other measures described
earlier. We used a software program (Qualtrics) to present the
visual stimuli, questionnaires, and directions. We randomly
assigned participants to conditions and counterbalanced the
order of models within condition. Each participant saw three
models deliver a presentation in one of the four outfits (e.g.,
participants saw three casually dressed presenters or three for-
mally dressed presenters).
The means and standard deviations of the dependent variables
between the four experimental conditions for participants
appear in Table 1. A manipulation check confirmed partici-
pants rated the outfits differently across conditions. We con-
ducted four analyses of variance on the 4 items rating
clothing description (casual, party, BC, and BF). The tests were
all significant: casual, F(3, 63) ¼5.72, p¼.002, party, F(3, 63)
¼3.85, p¼.14, BC, F(3, 63) ¼10.30, p< .001, and BF, F(3,
63) ¼8.47, p< .001. Each condition was rated highest on the
related dependent variable (i.e., casual scores were highest in
the casual condition) in all conditions except for the BC vari-
able condition which was rated highest in the BF condition.
The results of post hoc Tukey tests and all means appear in
Table 1. Consistent with our expectations, student participants
did not demonstrate nuanced appraisal of outfits. The line
between BC and BF was blurry as was the line between casual
and party clothes. We explore this issue with additional analy-
ses subsequently.
To test our main research question, we first conducted an
analysis of variance (ANOVA) on each dependent variable.
Participants rated 4 of the 10 dependent variables differently
across conditions. Post hoc Tukey analyses showed participants
rated only some conditions differently from the others as shown
in Table 1. For a better analogy to how presentations are rated
in the classroom, we computed a composite Presentation Qual-
ity Score by summing the 10 dependent variables. We then
conducted a 2 (gender of participant) 4 (experimental condi-
tion) ANOVA on Presentation Quality. We found a significant
main effect for experimental condition, F(3, 57) ¼4.38, p¼
.008, Z
¼.19. Participant gender was not significant. Post hoc
Tukey analyses again suggest that the effect was due to the BF
condition where scores were significantly different from the
casual, p¼.032, and party, p¼.029, conditions but not the
BC condition.
To further explore the possibility that students are not suffi-
ciently aware of appropriateness of different clothing for
school in general, we gave participants a list of clothing items
and asked them to what extent they thought each item was
appropriate for school. The participants completed this section
after rating the presentations. Participants rated sheer clothing
as least appropriate (M¼3.55) followed by suits (M¼3.71),
tank tops (M¼4.98), tights (M¼5.02), jeggings/meggings (M
¼5.10), button down shirts (M¼5.68), cardigans (M¼5.78),
jewelry (M¼6.02), and jeans (M¼6.22).
Higher education is supposed to provide students with the
knowledge and skills to be successful in the world and in their
lives. Together with content knowledge, college classes are
also places to learn key skills. One skill is communicating well.
Table 1. Means and Standard Deviations of the Major Dependent Variables by Condition (N ¼65).
Causal (16) Party (15) Buss. Casual (16) B. Formal (18)
Mean (SD) Mean (SD) Mean (SD) Mean (SD)
Engaging 3.17 (.92) 3.02 (.89) 3.10 (.86) 3.43 (.86)
Professional* 3.29 (.91)
3.28 (.82) 3.69 (.69) 4.08 (1.02)
Informative 3.85 (.91) 3.73 (.76) 3.79 (.73) 4.17 (.93)
Flowed 3.85 (.83) 3.42 (.66) 3.60 (.73) 3.85 (.83)
Confidence** 3.31 (.62) 3.09 (.71)
3.49 (.79) 3.95 (.18)
Clarity 3.67 (.61) 3.58 (.80) 3.60 (.88) 4.02 (.62)
Well designed 4.10 (.62) 3.90 (.87) 4.08 (1.02) 4.29 (.65)
Appropriately dressed*** 2.93 (.92)
3.64 (.82)
4.24 (.93)
4.82 (.83)
Credible** 3.17 (.84)
3.16 (.83)
3.82 (.84)
3.99 (.86)
Knowledgeable 3.43 (.89) 3.59 (1.03) 3.65 (.89) 4.04 (.85)
Presentation quality* 34.35 (553)
34.16 (7.00)
35.34 (10.08)
40.65 (6.60)
MC_casual** 5.81 (1.38)
5.29 (1.20) 4.13 (1.78)
3.78 (1.93)
MC_party* 4.00 (1.60) 4.50 (1.61)
2.53 (1.46)
3.50 (1.82)
MC_buss. casual*** 2.69 (1.74)
4.21 (1.48)
4.76 (1.82)
5.56 (1.04)
MC_buss. formal*** 2.25 (2.05)
2.86 (1.61)
4.44 (1.75)
5.06 (1.87)
Note. buss. ¼business; MC ¼manipulation check. Means with different superscripts signify conditions are statistically different from each other. Means with no
superscripts are not statistically different from any other means. Means with similar superscripts are not statistically different from each other but may be different
from other means with a different superscript if more than one superscript is present. Presentation quality is a composite of the 10 individual variables.
*p< .05, **p< .01, ***p< .001.
Gurung et al. 3
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Part and parcel of communicating well is dressing profession-
ally (Hall & Berardino, 2006), but in our experience students
do not always dress as well as they should. Our results provide
direct empirical evidence that clothing can be related to peer
presentation ratings. Student participants rated presentations
made by fellow students higher when the presenter was for-
mally dressed. This evidence for the power of dressing well
is consistent with a wealth of research assessing the role of
clothing in business settings (Glick et al., 2005). Participant rat-
ings of appropriateness of different clothing items and minimal
differentiation of clothing type (i.e., the post hoc analyses of
our manipulation check) suggest that students may not be com-
pletely clear on what BC clothing or BF clothing really is and
are unaware of the importance of clothing in impression forma-
tion. Although instructors may often stress the importance of
dressing up for a class presentation, students may be unclear
on what ‘‘dressing up’’ really means. Clothing is clearly an
important part of impression formation and instructors should
be more specific when instructing students on how to present
themselves for presentations. Students may also underestimate
the role of dressing up for presentations. Although past
research suggests students seem to realize they should dress
professionally for a job interview or for their jobs, students may
not believe they should dress up for college presentations.
Our results are qualified by a number of limitations.
Although the lack of complete separation of our four experi-
mental conditions supports our expectation that students do not
differentiate well between clothing types, we could have had
instituted stronger control on the operationalization of our inde-
pendent variable by limiting the variance in what the models
could wear in each condition. For example, although all our
models wore formal outfits for the ‘‘formal’’ condition, the pre-
cise articles of clothing that comprised ‘‘formal’’ varied across
models. We also realize that our study was a laboratory analogy
of the classroom and only used female presenters. The extent to
which attire may influence peer ratings may differ for male ver-
sus female models (and potentially that difference may depend
on the gender of the raters). No grades were at stake. In addition
to perceptions of the presenter, dressing well may influence the
performance of the presenter as well. Research on enclothed
cognition focusing on both the symbolic meaning of the clothes
and the physical experience of wearing them shows that what
one wears can change one’s own behavior (Adam & Galinsky,
2012). For example, participants physically wearing a lab coat
demonstrated more selective attention compared to participants
not wearing a lab coat. We did not assess the possibility that our
models, when formally dressed, actually did perform better.
These limitations notwithstanding, our results suggest stu-
dents should pay more attention to what they wear for class pre-
sentations. If their peers in a lab study rate the presentations
better when the presenters are professionally dressed it is,
likely that instructors (and later, employers) will as well. Hav-
ing faculty rate these presentations such as this is a potential
future research direction.
Our results provide instructors with empirical data to share
with their students demonstrating the effect clothing style has
on perceptions together with also evoking many issues that
relate to introductory and social psychology classes. Our
study taps into factors such as impression formation, how thin
slices of behavior influence perceptions, and the role of impli-
cit factors. We also hope that faculty will share our results
with students to help students get a better sense of what is
expected of them when a professor asks them to dress profes-
sionally for a presentation. Our data clearly show outfits that
may contribute to lower presentations while highlight that BF
outfits are associated with high ratings. Our findings can help
students understand how their attire potentially is related to
their performance, their grades, and the impressions formed
of them by their classmates.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to
the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article.
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... The role of formal clothing in reducing racial bias shows promise potentially activating positive schemas versus negative race-based schemas (Clemans & Graber, 2016). Formally dressed individuals are rated well especially in evaluative situations (Gurung et al., 2014). For example, college students rated people wearing business attire as more authoritative, credible, responsible, competent, knowledgeable, reliable, intelligent, trustworthy, willing to work hard, efficient, approachable, courteous, friendly, and business-like than models wearing semi-formal or informal clothing (Kwon & Johnson-Hillery, 1998). ...
We examined the effect of different clothing styles on the perceptions of African American men. Using a between-group design, we tested whether participants perception of African American models wearing sweatpants and sweatshirts (“swagger”), clothing showing they won an event, or formal clothing, would vary. Participants (N = 143) viewed four African American models in one of three conditions. Multivariate analyses of covariance (MANCOVA) with Symbolic Racism Scale scores as a covariate revealed that participants rated models in Formal clothing significantly higher than models in winning clothing in intelligence, p <.001, trustworthiness, p <.001, and warmth p =.005. Models wearing formal clothing or winning clothing were also rated significantly higher than models wearing swagger clothing on several traits. Participant’s Symbolic Racism Score significantly affected their ratings of models. Results suggest that the clothing that an African American wears, as well as viewer prejudice, affects the impression that the viewer makes.
... Clothes make the man and Fine feathers make fine birds are proverbs pointing out the importance of clothing for human impression formation and experience. Studies on human clothing show, for example, that psychotherapists wearing more formal attire receive higher ratings on expertise, knowledge, credibility, trustworthiness, sympathy, attractiveness and friendliness [4]; that formally dressed presenters are rated higher on presentation quality [8]; that more formally dressed students are judged higher for their intelligence and academic achievement by teachers and fellow students [3]; that patients rate doctors in formal attire with a white coat as being more knowledgeable, trustworthy, caring, approachable and comfortable than doctors in scrubs or more casual clothing [15]. Even small differences matter: men wearing a bespoke versus an off-the-peg suit are rated higher in success and confidence by other men and women [10]. ...
Significant research has been conducted into the preferences of college students for what their course instructors wear while teaching face-to-face university classes. This article focuses on a specific focus within that research: students within a teacher education department of a midsized midwestern state university. The study used a survey to examine student preferences into this topic. Data were gathered using an online survey of 92 teacher education department students in one midwestern state university. The survey asked students to respond to images of men and women in various levels of formal dress: very informal attire, casual attire, business casual attire, and more formal attire. Students were asked to respond on a Likert-type scale about the impact of instructor dress on their own learning, on their perception of the instructor’s competence, and on their attitudes toward the professor’s apparent approachability or friendliness. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. This study suggests that students prefer their instructors to wear business casual attire while teaching. This finding was true for both male and female professors, and the survey results further indicate that business casual dress is best for student learning, for student perception of the instructor’s competence, and for the perceived approachability of the professor by students. The results of this study provide direction for college-level instructors seeking to enhance their overall effectiveness.
This study explored how students’ perceptions of their lecturers’ dress code influenced their inferences about the professional competences of the lecturers. Survey respondents were 102 students from a South African university of technology (female = 60%; age range = 18 to 25 years, SD: Image 1 = 0.75; Image 2 = 0.60; Image 3 = 0.83 and Image 4 = 0.67). They responded to a structured survey with picture illustration figures of alternative dress code and across dimensions of professional competences: rapport, fairness, knowledge and credibility, and organisation and preparation. The findings suggest that lecturers’ dress code does influence students perceptions of lecturers’ qualities in the academic work environment. Results showed that students percieve both male and female professionally dressed lecturers more positively than casually dressed lecturers. Furthermore, instructor attire did not affect female and male students differently.
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Does dressing in line with societal clothing rules make a woman appear more professional and competent? We used a within-subjects design and tested if participants rated women dressed in compliance with school and workplace clothing rules more positively than women not dressed in compliance with rules. Participants (N = 89) at a mid-sized mid-western university rated 10 pictures of women captured from the internet on 11 attributes. Participants rated the 5 women dressed following clothing rules higher on a composite measure of positive attributes (intelligent, competent, powerful, organized, efficient, and professional), F(1, 86) = 68.92, p < .001 ηp² = .45. Participant’s ratings did not correlate with their own self-reported levels of sexism. Participants’ gender was not a significant correlate. Our findings indicate that how students perceive women significantly relates to dressing in code. Participants rated women in less revealing and less tight clothing more positively.
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This article is targeted at analyzing the advantages of using the case study method in the course of Business English at Scientific Research University - Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg. Cases offer a lot of opportunities for developing academic skills in reading, writing, listening and making presentations. Students get not only linguistic skills but also non-linguistic competences. Students are taught to work in teams, to analyze the data given in the task, to make decisions. Communicative and managerial skills are obtained as well. Special attention is paid to making team presentations. It is vital to mention that analysis and case solving can be compared to a play where students are actors trying to come up with a solution of a problem using the information given. This approach stimulates students to be more creative, decisive, communicative and goal-oriented. This method helps to achieve better results in developing academic skills while studying Business English. In this article, the importance of Russian companies’ problems analyses is pushed forward.
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The main objective of this study was to analyze users’ perceptions and convergent validity of peer- and teacher summative assessment using a rubric of students’ oral presentation skills in university context. Peer- and teacher-assessment convergence was analyzed from an analytical and holistic perspective. Students’ perception of validity and usefulness was determined from a questionnaire developed ad-hoc for this study. Students perceive that rubric is useful to explain and clarify assessment criteria, planning the development of the projects and evaluating their results. They also highlight its validy, integrating the key criteria to consider in the development and presentation of theis projects. The measures of agreement between peer- and teacher assessment using the rubric was significant, both analytical and holistic perspective -correlation of .89-. Results show the perceived usefulness and validity of the rubric to promote and support high-level cognitive processes in the development of the projects. The rubric is a valid tool to assess and rate the presentation of the students through the peer. These findings are discussed in terms of its instructional implications.
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Does the appearance of an instructor and the format of the class influence student grades and learning? We tested this question with 861 undergraduate students who completed an online questionnaire rating their instructors. Students were equally spread across class year and were from different majors. We used multiple regression analyses and found that likable, good-looking, well-dressed, and approachable teachers had students who said they learned more, had higher grades, and liked the class better.
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This study was conducted to investigate contemporary effects of instructor attire (specifically, graduate teaching assistant attire) on students' perceptions of college teachers in a live lecture context. Effects of three dress conditions, formal professional, casual professional, and casual, were tested under tightly controlled experimental conditions. Results indicated that more formal dress (business suits, dress shoes) was associated with increased ratings of instructor competence, particularly for female students rating female instructors. However, contrary to common assumptions, the most positive influences of instructor dress were found in the highly casual condition (faded jeans, T‐shirt, flannel shirt). Perceptions of homophily accounted for a small amount of variance in instructor ratings, but there was no significant effect of dress condition on ratings of homophily. Overall findings suggest that caution be used in drawing conclusions regarding potential payoffs of professional classroom dress based upon literature not specifically concerned with the classroom context.
We introduce the term “enclothed cognition” to describe the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer's psychological processes. We offer a potentially unifying framework to integrate past findings and capture the diverse impact that clothes can have on the wearer by proposing that enclothed cognition involves the co-occurrence of two independent factors—the symbolic meaning of the clothes and the physical experience of wearing them. As a first test of our enclothed cognition perspective, the current research explored the effects of wearing a lab coat. A pretest found that a lab coat is generally associated with attentiveness and carefulness. We therefore predicted that wearing a lab coat would increase performance on attention-related tasks. In Experiment 1, physically wearing a lab coat increased selective attention compared to not wearing a lab coat. In Experiments 2 and 3, wearing a lab coat described as a doctor's coat increased sustained attention compared to wearing a lab coat described as a painter's coat, and compared to simply seeing or even identifying with a lab coat described as a doctor's coat. Thus, the current research suggests a basic principle of enclothed cognition—it depends on both the symbolic meaning and the physical experience of wearing the clothes.
When examining the experiences of adolescent girls, a study into the presumptions teachers have regarding female adolescent sexuality is a very important aspect to explore. This article presents the findings from a study we conducted with eleven middle- and high school teachers in a southeastern state from both rural and urban districts. In-depth interviews were conducted to determine how their experiences and perceptions impact their understanding of the emerging sexuality of students in their classrooms. Several findings emerged, including that girls continue to be placed in contradictory positions concerning sexuality, that adverse sexual labels continue to serve as a means of sexual harassment that many teachers do not recognize, and that perceptions of sexuality and acceptable behavior remain deeply embedded in race and class issues.
Personal presentation attributes have long been understood to affect perceptions of competence and capabilities. To that end, this study investigates seven attributes associated with favorable interview presentation, including overall physical attractiveness, neatness and grooming, clothing color, conservative versus trendy attire, professional versus casual attire, and body modification (including tattoos and piercings). Participants (n=108), including students, faculty, and hospitality industry professionals, sorted an orthogonal array of 16 full-color, laminated cards that contained photos so that respondents could see levels of clothing color, clothing conservativeness, and degree of professional attire. The remaining attributes and their corresponding levels were shown on respective analog indicators. The conjoint analysis results indicate that grooming and professional attire are the most important attributes in shaping favorable perceptions. Furthermore, faculty perceived conservative clothing to be better while students and industry professionals indicated that trendy clothing creates a more favorable presentation on the part of a job candidate.
Previous research has demonstrated that relational partners make decisions within the first few weeks of a relationship that determine the long-term nature of the relationship. The study reported here extends that research, predicting that such decisions and influences are apparent after brief first encounters. Students in several sections of a skills-oriented communication course reported reactions to a randomly assigned classmate after a brief conversation on the first day of class and the status of their relationship during week 9 of the term. Predicted Outcome Value Theory was employed to generate hypotheses. Results strongly support the theory, with perceptions formed during initial conversations influencing relationships in week 9.
Stimulus photographs of four clothing styles worn by a male and a female model were used to investigate the role clothing plays in perception of intelligence and academic expectations of high school students. Subjects were 750 high school students and 159 teachers from six schools in Ohio. One large suburban school, two urban schools, and three rural schools were represented. Repeated measures ANO VA was used to determine F value, and post hoc tests were conducted. Results indicate perception of intelligence and academic achievement are influenced by dress. Significant differences were found in perception of intelligence and scholastic ability for both student and teacher subjects based on clothing styles and sex of the model. There were significant differences among the schools for students but not for teachers. The influence of dress and gender on teachers'perception of the intellectual capabilities of students has serious implications for the classroom.