Black or White? The Impact of Clothing Colour on Impression Formation and Judgment
Keywords:social cognition, impression formation, stereotype, colour perception, virtual environment
AbstractContemporary social psychology must take into account the rapid increase in the availability of virtual environments for social interaction. In two experiments, we aimed to advance the knowledge of how the colour of clothing influences the assessment of aggressiveness and guilt of a suspect. In addition to replicating the classic effect, we have attempted to verify it in a virtual environment. Study 1 has been conducted on a sample of 144 people. Firstly, the participants were informed that they would be exposed to a mug shot of a woman taken into police custody. Later, they received information that the female is suspected of committing an unspecified crime; however, her guilt still needs to be proven. The colour of the suspect’s clothes (white or black) was manipulated. Finally, the participants were asked to fill out the Aggressive and Guilty Impression Scale. The study confirmed the hypothesis that a woman dressed in black was perceived as more aggressive. This effect did not occur in the case of assessing her guilt. Study 2 was conducted to verify the black clothing effect in a virtual environment along with the female’s 3D avatar. A total of 189 subjects participated. Participants were informed of the alleged crime and shown a video that depicted a self-presentation of the woman represented by an avatar. The video was made in the vTime application. Finally, the participants answered the manipulation check and filled out the questionnaire. The results of the second study did not confirm the black colour effect. Gender identification did not moderate the effect of clothing colour on creating the impression of aggressiveness and guilt.