HAIR DAYS" AFFECT MORE THAN YOUR APPEARANCE.
It Impacts Performance, Self-Esteem, Social Insecurity
Everyone has had them - the term has even become part
of the vernacular for a bad day. According to a study
conducted at Yale University, "bad hair days"
are real - the perception of bad hair actually produces
negative consequences beyond not feeling good about
how one looks.
Dr. Marianne LaFrance
According to the study, directed by Dr. Marianne LaFrance,
Professor of Psychology and Professor of Women's and Gender Studies
at Yale University, "bad hair days" affect individuals'
self-esteem increasing self-doubt, intensifying social insecurities,
and becoming more self-critical in general.
"Interestingly, both women and men are negatively affected
by the phenomenon of bad hair days," says Professor LaFrance.
"Even more fascinating is our finding that individuals perceive
their capabilities to be significantly lower than others when
experiencing bad hair."
Bad Hair Lowers Self-Esteem
A person with positive performance self-esteem is an individual
who is confident and optimistic that he or she is on top of things,
understands what needs to be done and feels capable about being
able to pull it off. According to the study, the perception of
bad hair leads to a reduced sense of performance self-esteem,
such that men and women doubt their capabilities and may ultimately
perform below their level of competence when experiencing a bad
hair day. Most notably, just the thought of a bad hair day caused
both men and women to feel they are not as smart as others. Surprisingly,
the impact on performance self-esteem was more pronounced among
Bad Hair Increases Social Insecurity:
The study further found that bad hair intensifies feelings of
social insecurity and self-consciousness. However, the psychological
reactions differed among women and men. Women tend to feel more
disgraced, embarrassed, ashamed or self-conscious when experiencing
bad hair. Men on the other hand, feel more nervous, less confident
and are more inclined to be unsociable.
Bad Hair Intensifies Self-Criticism:
Evidence shows that bad hair causes one to be more negative about
oneself. Specifically, results indicate that a 'bad hair'
day leads individuals to find more personal character flaws that
go beyond their appearance. When asked to complete a list of statement
about who they are, "bad hair" caused people to mention
significantly more negative traits and attributes.
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Marianne LaFrance joined the Yale faculty in 1998. Her
research focuses on how gender and power are reflected in and
maintained by subtle communication processes. Nonverbal behaviors
are of particular interest because they lie out-of-awareness and
typically operate off-the-record. Also, nonverbal cues can simultaneously
reveal information about an individual's identity and attitudes
as well as shape and sustain social relationships. LaFrance's
goal is to determine why facial expressions like smiling, or linguistic
strategies like apologizing, reveal clear gender differences.
Her conceptual model, called Expressivity Demand Theory, aims
at specifying when people display such behaviors and what functions
they serve in social interaction.