Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Dressed to Influence


How we dress obviously affects the way in which other people perceive us. In this study they looked at the effects of how an experimenter dresses on participant compliance.
This was a double blind procedure in which participants were randomly assigned to a casually or professionally dressed researcher to follow certain directions. The participants were all undergraduate university students who were first shown a video recording of the same experimenter who was either dressed professionally or casually. The experimenter would give them directions such as to use a blue pen, to turn over their papers when they were done and other commands they were trying to get compliance for. After watching the recording they were asked to complete a test as fast as they could containing such instructions as ‘In step 1, circle the word rapidly’, and other various similar simple tasks.

The results show as you can see from the table that a significantly higher amount of compliance was gained from the experimenter when dressed casually rather than when dressed professionally. The participants followed the directions more accurately when they were given by someone dressed casually. This is an example of getting compliance through similarity and liking, we like people who are similar to us. Since all the participants were undergraduate university students it can be assumed that almost all the participants would have been dressed casually and would generally always dress that way so when the experimenter was dressed similarly to them more compliance was given due to liking the experimenter more through similarity.


Dressed to Influence: The Effects of Experimenter Dress on Participant Compliance Anastacia E. Damon, Arineh Sarkissian, Cherrie Y. Cotilier, Nicole M. Staben, Jaime M. Lee, Robert J. Youmans, California State University, Northridge. Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences, Volume 9 (2010)

Toby Watson

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