'Judging a book by it's cover?' photo (c) 2011, Paul Swansen - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

A new study has found that how people look — and not based on physical attractiveness – has a huge impact on how people are judged.

Granted, that’s no huge surprise, but I was surprised by the context of the research.

Researchers showed videos of performers in a musical competition. Some watched the videos without sound, some watched with sound, and some actually didn’t watch the video at all and just listened to the audio.

The only ones who guessed the winners correctly were the people who watched the video with no sound.

Here’s what the researcher said about the results:

“I wouldn’t necessarily say that this is indicative of superficial judgment,” Tsay says. “There is something about visual information that is better able to convey cues such as passion or involvement or creativity. These elements are very much a part of high-quality performance.”

The report goes on to say:

In fact, Tsay’s study is only the latest to show that people’s judgments on all manner of issues are shaped by what they see. We know we shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but marketers know we do anyway. Economists and political psychologists have found that voters can the winners of elections when they watch videos of the candidates — with the sound off.

It seems to me that this latest study can also related to aspects of classroom life. Check out these previous posts to see what I mean:

A Question On Teacher Attire

Is Teacher Handwriting Important?