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You are What You Wear: Unless You Moved—Effects of Attire and Posture on Person Perception

Kuester, D; Krumhuber, E; Hess, U; (2019) You are What You Wear: Unless You Moved—Effects of Attire and Posture on Person Perception. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior , 43 (1) pp. 23-38. 10.1007/s10919-018-0286-3.

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Abstract

While first impressions are often based on appearance cues, little is known about how these interact with information from other channels. The present research aimed to investigate the impact of occupational stereotypes, evoked by attire, as well as posture on person perception. For this, computer animation was used to create avatars with different types of attire (nurse, military, casual) and posture (open, closed). In Study 1 (N = 164), participants attributed significantly more empathy to avatars wearing a nurse versus a military uniform or casual outfit. When adding posture as an additional cue, Study 2 (N = 312) showed that ratings of empathy and dominance were affected by both attire and posture. This effect was replicated in Study 3 (N = 163) for female avatars, in the sense that open postures in nurses increased empathy ratings and decreased dominance ratings, which both in turn led to greater perceived competence. By contrast, for male avatars, posture did not affect attributions of competence directly. Rather, attire predicted perceived dominance directly, as well as through perceived empathy. The present findings suggest that both posture, and occupational information evoked by attire, are used to infer personal characteristics. However, the strength of each cue may vary with the gender of the target.

Type: Article
Title: You are What You Wear: Unless You Moved—Effects of Attire and Posture on Person Perception
DOI: 10.1007/s10919-018-0286-3
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10919-018-0286-3
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Occupational stereotypes, Body posture, Clothing, Empathy, Warmth, Dominance, Competence
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10056143
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