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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

Full manuscript: http://www.kon.org/urc/v9/damon.html

Abstract Some psychologists believe that, in addition to any independent variable being tested, the characteristics of the experimenter who is conducting the study can influence how participants will perform during experiments, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as experimenter bias. Participants in this experiment consisted of 67 California State University, Northridge students. In this double-blind procedure, participants were randomly assigned to follow directions from either a casually or professionally-dressed experimenter. The authors predicted that participants in the professionally dressed condition would follow directions more accurately, but results indicated that participants who received directions from a casual experimenter were more compliant. It may be that students follow directions more accurately when those directions are given by someone who is dressed more similar to themselves.

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