I believe what I see: Impact of attire and academic degree on evaluation of personality traits of a politician
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University of Economics and Innovation, Lublin, Poland
Submission date: 2021-06-01
Final revision date: 2021-09-20
Acceptance date: 2021-09-23
Online publication date: 2021-12-10
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2022;10(4):311–320
The image of a politician primes people to judge his/her personality traits. Voters are looking for such qualities as honesty, intelligence, friendliness, sincerity, and trustworthiness. Most studies, however, concentrate on the evaluation of faces, and only some take into account the candidate’s attire.

Material and methods:
The research included 320 participants between 18 and 78 years. It aimed to assess whether the parliamentary candidate’s attire affects voters’ evaluation of his personality traits. A description of his program was also presented to determine whether it affected the candidate’s evaluation. Participants observed four versions of a fictional candidate’s election materials: the candidate dressed in a formal suit or dressed casually and dressed formally or casually but bearing a doctor’s degree. We used a self-constructed questionnaire to evaluate selected traits of the candidate’s character.

The findings revealed that participants believed an individual in casual wear to be more active, attractive, open to people and the world, friendly, honest, and reliable, and only more smart, and effective while dressed formally. Also, the academic degree proved to be of importance. Accordingly, the same person with a doctorate was additionally evaluated as competent, responsible when dressed casually, and responsible when wearing a suit. It confirms the assumption that the informal dress and academic degree are most influential. The program description proved to be of no significance.

Our study shows that the way the candidate was dressed affected the evaluation of his personality characteristics. The participants attributed the casually dressed candidate the traits expected from a politician.

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