This is an exciting discovery until you realise that it applies to human beings as well. I just read an article in Maclean's that cites a 2003 study by sociologist Andrew Harrell that showed attractive children were six times more likely to be buckled into shopping cart seats (for safety) than unattractive children. Six times. And this is by their own parents.
Kind of scary, isn't it?
Anyhow, I've been wondering about how I can improve my Perceived Smartness Level at work. It's actually quite good now, at least with my workmates and with long-term clients. But I want clients to know I'm smart when they meet me. I'm the web developer and programmer and all-round knower of knowledge at our company. It's important that they see me as competent.
Last year, we had a meeting with the IT guy from a client company, about their website. He came to the meeting in dress slacks and a tie. My immediate impression was: How can this guy know anything about technology? He's just a suit! When I mentioned this to the production manager later, I found out that her impression was just the opposite -- he looked so professional, she figured he was really knowledgeable.
How would you judge somebody in that situation? Does seeing geeky toys on an IT worker's desk make them seem credible or childish? (And if you say childish, do I have to get rid of my Darth Tater? I just picked him up today.) Does a slick look make a techie seem smarter? Or more like a poseur?
How do you expect a smart IT worker to look? I'm sure I already lose points because I'm female. I'm pretty butch right now. If I go to a more feminine look, would that make me seem a better or worse programmer? Can I keep my labret?
And could dressing better make me enough extra money to afford the necessary wardrobe?
It's all just interface design in the end. I just need to figure out what design would work best.