University of Twente Student Theses


Clothes make the man : the effect of congruency between physique, clothing and glasses on persuasiveness and other desirable characteristics

Meulen, A.H. van der (2015) Clothes make the man : the effect of congruency between physique, clothing and glasses on persuasiveness and other desirable characteristics.

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Abstract:Van Doorn (2009) states that congruency between a person’s physique and their clothing has a positive effect on that person’s perceived persuasiveness and other positive characteristics. This statement was used as a starting point to find out whether congruency between physique and clothing indeed affects how someone gets evaluated on various characteristics. The characteristics that have been included in this research are extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness to new experiences (together the Big Five of Personality), persuasiveness, attractiveness, intelligence, leadership, business-mindedness and balancedness. Furthermore was looked on how someone’s personal “preference for consistency” was related to (preference for) congruency and how this affected the evaluation of people on the various characteristics. This was realized by manipulating one picture into twelve variations, all varying in shape of physique, shape of clothing and shape of glasses. The shapes that were used are rectangular versus round and for glasses was also the option “no glasses” resulting in the condition with rectangular glasses, round glasses and no glasses. This resulted into two groups of pictures: congruent pictures, which are pictures where all the shapes are the same (e.g. rectangular physique, rectangular clothing and rectangular glasses) and incongruent pictures, pictures where not all the shapes are alike. In this study, any possible effects of gender differences were ruled out by including only male subjects to evaluate male target stimuli. By means of an online questionnaire, subjects were randomly assigned one of the pictures and were asked questions about the personality of the person in the picture. It appeared that congruency between a person’s physique, clothing and glasses enhances someone’s perceived agreeableness, persuasiveness and attractiveness. Preference for consistency however did not seem to be related to a preference for congruent pictures in any way and did not cause the higher scores on the congruent pictures or lower scores for the incongruent pictures. However, the significant effects were only found for the pictures with a rectangular physique: therefore the recommendation to dress congruent with one’s physique to come across as more agreeable, more persuasive and more attractive, can only be said with certainty for men with a rectangular physique.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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