Perceptions based on clothing people wear is topic of next Oregon State Science Pub

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The connection between the clothing people wear and how others perceive them will be the topic of the Oregon State University Science Pub on Jan. 11.

The virtual event, a joint effort of Oregon State University in Corvallis and OSU-Cascades in Bend, will feature a talk by Regan A. R. Gurung, a professor of psychological science in Oregon State’s College of Liberal Arts and interim executive director of OSU’s Center for Teaching and Learning.

Gurung, whose talk is titled “Seeing Through Clothes: Impression Formation, Prejudice & Sexism,” is a social psychologist whose research encompasses social, health, and teaching psychology.

One area of his research focuses on perceptions based on the clothing people wear. He points out that job status, sociability, income, health and fitness can be perceived from clothing. People use categories when describing others and learn what types of clothing are associated with categories or labels.

Different types of clothing send different messages, he says. For example, men perceive women in revealing clothing as being more flirtatious, seductive, promiscuous and less capable and intelligent. African American men in sweatpants are viewed more negatively than when dressed formally.

Gurung will address whether sexism and prejudice can be reduced if people change what they wear.

The free Science Pub will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The event will be broadcast on YouTube Live. Registration is required and can be completed at: https://sciencepub-seeingthroughclothes.eventbrite.com.

Sponsors of Science Pub include the OSU Office of Research, OSU-Cascades in Bend and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Connect Central Oregon, a collaborative program with the OSU-Cascades Innovation Co-Lab, will produce the event with student interns.

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