How Does Nudeness Affect Human Behavior?

While reading Sunday’s New York Times at Starbucks on Pearl Street here in Boulder, I smiled at the article declaring toga-themed college parties “old news.” Apparently, “nude” is the hot new theme. No clothes, and you’re in the door.

Just another college trick to make sexual exploration a little easier? That may be the intent, but the result, according to students, is more sophisticated and serious conversations. As the eminently sensible Tyler Cowen comments:

I would expect the [nude] parties to be more socially egalitarian, given that clothing cannot be used for social signalling, or for that matter for social concealing. I would expect less flirting, less drinking, less aggressive behavior, less lying, and more social seriousness. These effects should also wear off over time, as people get used to nudity and develop other means of signalling and concealing.

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