I wonder how many of you reading this are currently wearing glasses, or perhaps do so on an occasional basis when needed. What was it like when you first put them on? Were you concerned how you might be perceived, positively or negatively? Well, this week I’ve got a really interesting insight that relates to that very area.
I have to admit this week there is an air of personal interest in the research because, although I’m 47 next year, I’ve never had to wear glasses. I’ve been lucky enough to have fantastic eyesight, but I’m aware it’s beginning to deteriorate and it’s likely that in the next couple of years I’m going to have to join the millions who wear glasses in later life and am already imagining what it will be like for me to wear them. Well, if you’re the same, if you wear them or you’re thinking about wearing them, you might be interested in this research from Australia.
In the study researchers interviewed 633 people who were attending opticians for short-sightedness. In addition they did a personality test on them to find out where they sat in the five areas of personality that psychologists often refer to. Now, as I grew up, people that wore glasses at school were considered geeky, a bit nerdy and probably intelligent or introverted. I certainly remember as school kids thinking that if you wore glasses you were more intelligent – how we got to that idea when we were kids I don’t know!
The researchers wanted to challenge those perceptions and they found (and you won’t be surprised to know) that there’s absolutely no correlation between extraversion / introversion and wearing glasses. In fact the only correlation they found were the people that wore glasses for short sightedness were likely to be more open, agreeable and friendly.
We all build up these stereotypes about people, we look at someone and judge them because of what they’re wearing, how they sound or how they look; and yet these are often wrong and inaccurate stereotypes, so do be aware of when you are doing this too.
Anyway, the good news is that, if you wear glasses for short-sightedness you might be perceived in a more positive way!
I’ll be back in seven days with another Meetology Minute – exploring the fascinating science powering world-class people skills.
Until then, take care,
The Meetology® Lab
Van De Berg, R., Dirani, M., Chen, C. Y., Haslam, N., & Baird, P. N. (2008). Myopia and personality: the genes in myopia (GEM) personality study. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, 49(3), 882-886.