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Effects of sex and appearance on ratings of source credibility

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Title:
Effects of sex and appearance on ratings of source credibility
Creator:
Engstrom, Erika, 1964- ( Dissertant )
Edwardson, Mickie N. ( Thesis advisor )
Tipton, Leonard P. ( Reviewer )
Wright, John W. ( Reviewer )
Shehan, Constance L. ( Reviewer )
Gubrium, Jaber F. ( Reviewer )
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Gainesville, Fla.
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University of Florida
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1991
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English
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ix, 148 leaves ; 29 cm.

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Subjects / Keywords:
Clothing ( jstor )
Dresses ( jstor )
Employment discrimination ( jstor )
Masculinity ( jstor )
Men ( jstor )
Stereotypes ( jstor )
Suits ( jstor )
T tests ( jstor )
Women ( jstor )
Womens studies ( jstor )
Television broadcasting of news -- Psychological aspects
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Abstract:
This study focused on the effects that a person's sex and appearance have on ratings of his or her credibility. Specifically, it is an examination of differences in ratings of expertise, character, and dynamism of male and female sources who appeared as experts in simulated television interviews, and whether variations in clothing affect perceptions of credibility of males and females differently. A stimulus videotape was created in which male and female actors posing as college professors appeared in three modes of dress: conservative, causal, and neutral. Subjects drawn from a sample of college students and from a civic organization comprised mostly of adults over age 35 viewed the interviews and rated the sources according to characteristics which measured source expertise, character, and dynamism. Contrary to expectations, no significant differences were found between expertise and character ratings of male and female sources. However, male sources were rated as more dynamic. Credibility ratings of female sources were expected to be significantly lower when they were dressed casually than when dressed conservatively. No significant difference in ratings betwee the two dress conditions for females were found. It was also predicted that subjects
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General Note:
Vita.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1991.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 142-147).

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EFFECTS OF SEX AND APPEARANCE ON RATINGS OF SOURCE CREDIBILITY













By


ERIKA ENGSTROM


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


AUGUST 1991

































For my parents














ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


Many, many people helped me with this paper. I

sincerely thank each of them for giving me their time and encouragement. First, I thank everyone who helped with the production of the videotape used in this study. They are: Drs. Julie Dodd, Paul Smeyak, John Wright, Kim Walsh-Childers, Michael Weigold and Sherry Alexander; fellow grad students and colleagues Matthew Power, Jane Tolbert, Matthew Bunker, Darci Sirianni, Lisa Barr, and Clay Conway; WUFT-TV production manager Frank Counts; and WUFT-TV news director Rick Schneider, who so graciously endured countless hours of taping and retakes.

I could not have conducted this study without the following people: Ed Gilliland, Marge Pierce, Susan Brown, Dr. Greg Neimeyer, Mark Mahon, Sunil Hewavitharana, and my brother Bruce Engstrom, who all helped in one way or another with the administration of the experiment; and Simon DeYoung and Blake Milstead, who loaned me their brand new video equipment without requiring collateral or reimbursement other than St. Louis mineral water. I especially thank my fellow doctoral inmate Barry Hollander, who helped me practically every step of the


iii










way, not only with the experiment itself, but also with the statistical analyses of the results.

I thank my committee members for their suggestions,

advice, and open doors: Drs. Leonard Tipton, John Wright, Constance Shehan, and Jaber Gubrium.

Special thanks go to Dr. Julie Dodd, whose

understanding and support in so many ways throughout the writing of this paper I appreciate with all my heart.

Very special thanks go to my committee chairperson, Dr. Mickie N. Edwardson, for all the time, patience, and wisdom she has so generously given me. She is, quite simply, the best.

Finally, I thank my stockholders, Alex and Margaret Engstrom. I hope I can make good on their investment.















TABLE OF CONTENTS


r)aqe

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii

LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii

ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viii

CHAPTERS

I INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Nonverbal Aspects of Source Credibility . . . 5
Appearance and Social Judgments . . . . . . . 9
Appearance and Occupational Stereotypes . . . 16

3 HYPOTHESES AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS . . . . . . 21

Hypotheses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Research Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

4 METHOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

Subjects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Procedure . . . * * ' * * ' * * * * * * 34
Pretest 1: Topic Int;r;s' . . . . . . . . 34
Pretest 2: Topic Similarity . . . . . . . 35
Pretest 3: Dress Conditions . . . . . . . 37
Final Experiment . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Instrument Validity and Reliability . . . . . 41
Factor Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Reliability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

5 RESULTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

Description of Subjects . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Results for Hypotheses . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Hypothesis One . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Hypothesis Two . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
v










Hypothesis Three . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Summary of Hypothesis Findings . . . . . . 58
Results for Research Questions . . . . . . . . 59
Male Targets, Regardless of Dress . . . . . 59 Female Targets, Regardless of Dress . . . . 61 Conservatively Dressed Female Targets . . . 63 Casually Dressed Female Targets . . . . . . 66 Conservatively Dressed Male Targets . . . . 68 Casually Dressed Male Targets . . . . . . . 71
Summary of Research Question Findings . . . . 71 Credibility of Dummy Sources . . . . . . . . . 74
Male vs. Female Dummy Sources . . . . . . . 75 Female Dummy Sources . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Male Dummy Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
Summary of Dummy Source Findings . . . . . 78
Additional Analyses . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80

6 DISCUSSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84

General Implications . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
Limitations and Considerations . . . . . . . . 93
Internal Validity . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
External Validity . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Suggestions for Further Research . . . . . . 96

APPENDICES

A QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PRETEST 1: TOPIC INTEREST 101

B QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PRETEST 2: TARGET SIMILARITY 118

C QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PRETEST 3: DRESS CONDITIONS 126

D QUESTIONNAIRE FOR FINAL EXPERIMENT . . . . . . 132

E DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION . . . . . . . . . . . 141

REFERENCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148















LIST OF TABLES


page

Table 3-1. order of Sources in Experimental
Conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Table 3-2. Example of Three-Factor Solution
of Credibility Variables . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

Table 3-3. Example of Four-Factor Solution
of Credibility Variables . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

Table 4-1. Mean Credibility Dimension Scores
for Male and Female Targets, Regardless of
Dress Condition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

Table 4-2. Mean Difference Scores for conservative
and Casual Dress Conditions of Male and Female
Target Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

Table 4-3. Mean Credibility Dimension Scores
for Male and Female Targets by Dress Condition 58

Table 4-4. Mean Credibility Dimension Scores
for Male and Female Targets Regardless of
Dress Condition by Subject Age and Sex . . . . . 64

Table 4-5. Mean Credibility Dimension Scores
for Female Targets According to Dress Condition
by Subject Age and Sex . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

Table 4-6. Mean Credibility Dimension Scores
for Male Targets According to Dress Condition
by Subject Age and Sex . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

Table 4-7. Mean Credibility Dimension Scores
for Male and Female Dummy Sources . . . . . . . . 77

Table 4-8. Mean Credibility Dimension Scores
for Male and Female Dummy Sources by Subject Age
and Sex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81


vii















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

EFFECTS OF SEX AND APPEARANCE
ON RATINGS OF SOURCE CREDIBILITY By

Erika Engstrom

August 1991

Chairperson: Dr. Mickie N. Edwardson Major Department: Journalism and Communications

This study focused on the effects that a person's sex and appearance have on ratings of his or her credibility. Specifically, it is an examination of differences in ratings of expertise, character, and dynamism of male and female sources who appeared as experts in simulated television interviews, and whether variations in clothing affect perceptions of credibility of males and females differently.

A stimulus videotape was created in which male and female actors posing as college professors appeared in three modes of dress: conservative, casual, and neutral. Subjects drawn from a sample of college students and from a civic organization comprised mostly of adults over age 35 viewed the interviews and rated the sources according to characteristics which measured source expertise, character, and dynamism.
viii











Contrary to expectations, no significant differences were found between expertise and character ratings of male and female sources. However, male sources were rated as more dynamic. Credibility ratings of female sources were expected to be significantly lower when they were dressed casually than when dressed conservatively. No significant differences in ratings between the two dress conditions for females were found. It was also predicted that subjects would perceive smaller differences in credibility between male sources dressed casually and conservatively than between females sources dressed casually and conservatively. This was not supported. Results showed that male sources dressed conservatively were regarded as lower in character than when dressed casually.

Subject variables of age and sex were also

investigated in terms of their influence on source ratings. Younger female subjects tended to give both male and female sources higher credibility ratings than did younger males, older males, and older females. Older females tended to give the lowest credibility ratings to all sources. Most significant differences among subjects were found between older and younger women. Older men and younger men did not significantly differ in their ratings of sources.
















CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION


The importance of one's appearance in the

establishment of one's identity and credibility as a source of information can be traced to ancient Greece. The concept of ethos, the totality of characteristic traits of a speaker, includes not only those aspects of contemporary concepts of credibility, such as competence and character, but also physical appearance (Aristotle, 1932).

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the link between perceptions of a person's competence in terms of his or her qualifications as an expert source and that person's appearance. Specifically, the study will focus on the effects that variations of a communicator's appearance have on evaluative opinions by an audience. The present study is an attempt to explore the subject of credibility in terms of how different people, in terms of age and sex, view men and women who are presented as "experts." Such sources often appear as guests or news sources on television programming, such as network news programs and magazine talk shows. Often, panels of experts may appear on these programs. Experts of this

1











type come from a variety of backgrounds, especially the professions. A common type of expert is the college professor, whose specialty is studying the particular issue at hand. Also, attorneys, medical personnel, such as medical doctors and psychologists, and government spokespersons, may appear. These sources may serve as stereotypes for their professions. It is the intent of this study to examine the extent to which variations in the appearance of such sources, both male and female, may result in different evaluations of the perceived expertise of these types of sources.

of particular interest will be how gender of an

expert source is related to different evaluative opinions by perceivers.1 Gender and credibility have been studied in terms of societal perceptions of women's competence as professionals (Lott, 1985) and trust between the genders, both interpersonal and in general (Carocci, 1988).

Lott (1985) reviewed gender studies in which

comparisons of how people evaluated male and female target persons on a variety of personal traits, including competence, were investigated. In general, studies examining such gender differences support the notion that there is a tendency to devalue competent women, even in situations in which both men and women targets perform equally well on a given task. Thus, she concluded, equal












performance by men and women does not necessarily yield equal evaluations.

Caroccils (1988) study of subjects' trust of same-sex and opposite-sex members as friends and as people in general found that, overall, women's ratings of both male and female others' expertness, character, and dynamism-all components of credibility--were higher than men's ratings. Also, men rated other men as higher in expertness than they rated other females, while, contrary to her expectations, women did not rate other women as significantly higher in expertness than other men.

Attitude objects in that study were either subjects' "close" friends (male or female) or males and females "in general" (p. 73). This may indicate that females, At least in Caroccils sample, viewed men and women as equally competent, while males may still be biased against women in terms of their competence.

It is hoped that this investigation of the

interrelationship between gender and appearance of a source and the gender of the receivers of that source's message will lead to a better understanding of appearance as a component of communicator credibility. The Aristotelian concept of credibility, ethos, is composed of a speaker's good sense, good moral character, and good will. According to this concept, good will includes those











characteristics about a speaker which do not have to do

with his morals but nevertheless win approval from

observers. Among these traits is appearance: a speaker

who is "clean and neat in person" and in dress will

enhance the good will others may see in him (Aristotle,

1932, p. 104). This study is intended to provide

empirical evidence for the influence appearance may have

on an audience's regard for a communicator.

Note
lAs Unger (1979) points out, the term "sex" implies biological mechanisms, such as chromosomes, genes hormones, and other physical characteristics which serve as the foundation for social distinctions between males and females. The term "gender," on the other hand, is more concerned with the nonphysical, sociocultural characteristics and behaviors which are considered appropriate for males and females, such as those which denote masculinity and femininity. While the researcher recognizes the different meanings implied by both terms, "sex" and "gender" will be used interchangeably in this paper to refer to the obvious physical distinctions between men and women rather than behavioral traits. The sex of sources and subjects will be used as the basis for the independent experimental and subject variables in this study.















CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF LITERATURE


The present investigation draws upon several

theoretical perspectives, including source credibility, nonverbal communication, the symbolic interaction theory of communication, the social cognition of stereotypes, and the sociology of gender differences. The following is a review of relevant findings which provide the bases for the main research question posed: How does the perceived credibility of male and female experts differ as a function of differences in the appearance of such sources, and to what extent do differences in receivers' age and sex affect their ratings of those experts?

Nonverbal Aspects of Source Credibility

One of the most well-documented and widely accepted generalizations in persuasion research is that the credibility of a source influences the effectiveness of persuasive messages (Miller, 1987). Early studies of credibility involved experiments in which print messages were used. Manipulation focused mainly on the preestablished trustworthiness (defined as credibility) of familiar or fictional organizational and individual sources and how it affected intended attitude change

5











(Hovland & Weiss, 1951). In the time since then, two of the main areas of research into the processes and elements associated with the construct of source credibility have been the isolation of the dimensions of a source's perceived credibility and how manipulation of certain nonand paraverbal source characteristics, such as speaking style and appearance, affect an audience's perceptions of those dimensions.

Two broad dimensions which emerge consistently from factor-analytic research of source credibility are the concepts of "competence," that is, a speaker's perceived expertise and regard as an authority on a particular subject, and "trustworthiness" (or "character"), that component which embodies a source's personal integrity and likelihood of telling the truth about a subject (O'Keefe, 1990; McCroskey & Young, 1981). Other dimensions which have been found to comprise overall credibility are dynamism, that is, a speaker's assertiveness or energy (Berlo, Lemert, & Mertz, 1969), and his or her sociability or friendliness (Miller, 1987).

Of more importance to the present study, however, is the other approach--studying credibility formation: the "process by which communicators use symbolic inducements to persuade others to perceive them more positively" (Miller, 1987, p. 467). The purpose for this line of











research is to discover which characteristics about a source and/or his or her message can be manipulated so as to affect how a person regards that source in terms of various credibility dimensions. These characteristics include information about the source (such as education level and experience), liking for the source (including similarity), position advocated by the source, use of humor in the message, citation of evidence, and topic sequencing (O'Keefe, 1990; Miller, 1987).

A more global construct with which to study how

characteristics of a source may influence perceptions of credibility is that of communicator style. Included in this area of research are paraverbal elements such as speaking rate, articulation, and speech errors or nonfluencies. In general, studies of this type have found that faulty articulation and nonfluent speech tend to result in lower ratings of credibility, especially on dimensions such as competence and dynamism (Addington, 1971; Burgoon, 1978; Miller & Hewgill, 1964; Sereno & Hawkins, 1967). Less consistent findings have been found concerning the effects of speaking rate on perceptions of sources (Burgoon, 1978; Miller, Maruyama, Beaber, & Valone, 1976; Bowers, 1978).

Nonverbal characteristics of sources have been found to be related to how people regard sources in terms of











various credibility dimensions. Studies of this type typically compare ratings of sources who are judged to be physically attractive in terms of facial features with those of sources judged to be less physically attractive. Generally, it has been found that physically attractive communicators receive higher ratings of likability than less attractive communicators (Joseph, 1982; Patzer, 1983) and rate higher on expertise and trustworthiness (Patzer, 1983).

While the relationship between somatic features such as facial appearance and perceived credibility has been for the most part supported (O'Keefe, 1990; Joseph, 1982), other physical attributes of a person also may play a role in how he or she is viewed by others. Perhaps the most obvious of these is clothing. One's personal artifacts, such as clothing and insignia, contribute to perceptions of social power (Emmert & Donaghy, 1981). Malandro and Barker (1983) acknowledge the importance of clothing as a nonverbal cue to impression formation by pointing out that the extent to which we consider another person to be credible may be in part revealed by his or her clothing.

Experimental evidence supporting the notion that

clothing can serve as a cue to perceptions of credibility is provided by Harp, Harp, and Stretch's (1985) study which investigated how ratings of credibility of a











television anchorwoman were affected by the different styles of clothing she wore. Credibility ratings, as determined by the sum of scores of seven characteristics, including competence, honesty, and viewer preference, were higher when the anchorwoman was dressed in a conservative, professional manner (suit jacket and blouse) than when dressed in a simple dress. The authors concluded that their results support prior research findings that dress and appearance are important to newscaster success in terms of credibility, and that people do have perceptions of what type of clothing is suitable work apparel.

Appearance and Social Judcfments

Appearance often is the most basic perceptual cue available in order for us to determine the status of another person. The symbolism which clothing provides acts as a cue which can be used to classify a person according to his or her character, occupation, or other traits. The importance of physical appearance and clothing is acknowledged in symbolic interaction theory. Goffman (1959), in his dramaturgical analysis of everyday social interaction, emphasized the nonverbal communication accomplished through our "personal front"--that part of us which we present to society. Personal fronts include all aspects of our physical selves, including the clothing we wear. Our appearance, then, may be taken to refer to











those stimuli which function to tell us of a performer's social status. Indeed, status symbols such as clothing are the specialized means of displaying one's position or role in societal exchange (Goffman, 1951). Insignia on uniforms and certain standard modes of dress, such as the business suit and tie, are automatically used to infer who a person is and his or her rank in an organization or in society in general.

The importance of nonverbal symbolism has been

reiterated by several theorists who have recognized the effectiveness of appearance as a medium for social meaning. Stone (1962) recognized the lack of attention given to this dimension of communication. Appearance establishes the identification of persons and facilitates or hinders interaction. Indeed, asserted Stone, "appearance means identification of one another" (p. 91).

The neglect of empirical study of clothing and

artifactual symbolism is pointed out by Davis (1982), who explored the lack of attention given to the "vast realm of human communication lying beyond the essentially denotative sphere of spoken and written language" (p. 116). Despite this discursive bias evident in the symbolic interactionist perspective, "we know that through clothing people communicate some things about their persons and at the collective level this results typically









11

in locating them symbolically in some structured universe of status claims and lifestyle attachments" (Davis, 1985, p. 16).

The extent to which the symbolic can be subjected to systematic and sustained analysis has been underestimated in the symbolic interactionist perspective. Indeed, a proliferation of empirical studies supports several major conclusions which can be made about clothing, dress, and appearance, and how they influence social judgments. In general, research of this type is concerned with the impressions made of strangers on the basis of their appearance. The majority of these types of studies, based in a theory of social perception which assumes that clothing acts as a nonverbal cue in communicating information, has demonstrated that clothing does affect the social impressions made of stimulus persons (Davis & Lennon, 1988).

A good many of these studies have originated from a more practical perspective; their main focus has been on clothing, in terms of the impact dress style, color, and form have on perceptions of personality traits, social status, or attractiveness assigned by subjects to stimulus persons depicted in drawings, photographs, or in person (Hoult, 1954; Compton, 1962; Rosencranz, 1962; Douty, 1963; Taylor & Compton, 1968; Hamid, 1972; DeLong, 1978;












Pinaire-Reed, 1979; Harris et al., 1983; Fiore & DeLong, 1984, Sweat & Zentner, 1985; Francis & Evans, 1987; Hewitt & German, 1987).

Reactions to different modes of dress have also been measured by subject behavior toward a stimulus person. When approached to sign a petition, subjects were more likely to comply with a request made by a similarly dressed other (Bryant, 1975) or a stimulus person dressed neatly than by one dressed in an untidy manner (Lambert, 1972). In the latter study, it was found that for all subjects, compliance was higher for a "smartly dressed" female experimenter posing as a market researcher. Compliance rates were significantly higher among older subjects than among younger ones. Lambert (1972) concluded that this suggests older people have more conventional attitudes toward appearance.

Gender differences have been the focus of several clothing and behavior studies. Rosenwasser, Adams, and Tansil (1983) compared the amount of time males and females looked at slides of differently dressed male and female stimulus persons. The researchers' premise was that in American society, physical appearance has been more important for and to women than men. Stimulus persons appeared either fully clothed or in bathing suits. It was found that male subjects looked significantly











longer at clothed women than at women in bathing suits. Female subjects behaved similarly. Though their sample was small, the authors suggest that while men's reactions can be explained as a function of their interest in the opposite sex, women's interest in other women's clothing may provide some evidence for the notion that women are interested in other women's clothing and artifacts, such as jewelry.

Gender differences and clothing styles were studied by Stead and Zinkhan (1986) in their investigation of salespeople's reactions to similarly dressed males and females. Male and female confederates were both dressed in business or casual attire and arrived at a checkout counter in a department store simultaneously. It was found that men received service from both male and female salesclerks sooner than did women. Both male and female stimulus persons received service more promptly when dressed in business attire (suit and jacket) than in casual attire (jeans and shirt). This difference was more pronounced for male "customers."

Recently, the importance of appearance, especially

for professional women, has been recognized by researchers examining appearance and its relationship to judgments of job-skill ratings and competence in the workplace. The effect of colors and layering (wearing of a suit jacket)









14

on perceptions of a person's capabilities in the business world was examined by Scherbaum and Shepherd (1987). Subjects were master of business administration students who viewed drawings of male and female stimulus persons dressed in blue or red business suits with or without jackets. Highest ratings of self-assuredness, likelihood of success, and appropriateness of attire were given to male and female targets who wore blue suits with jackets. Differences between dress conditions were especially pronounced for male targets, while differences between attire conditions for female targets were less varied. The authors concluded that their findings suggest attire may be more important for men in the business world, and deviance from the standard business suit may not be as tolerated for men as for women. Women may have less stringent restrictions on what is proper or improper business attire, but the authors admit their findings may have been a function of social desirability on the part of subjects in that they may not have wanted to appear as discriminating against females based on their appearance.

The effect of grooming style on hiring decisions was studied by Cash (1985) in an experiment in which corporate personnel served as subjects. Female stimulus persons' appearance was operationalized as being "managerial" or "nonmanagerial.11 Managerial appearance consisted of a











tailored suit, little jewelry, and short, simple hairstyles which were away from the face and lacked adornment. Nonmanagerial appearance included more "feminine" clothing, dangling earrings, and hairstyles which were long, concealed the face or appeared to require considerable maintenance, and were adorned with ribbons or barrettes. Subjects were asked to make hiring evaluations based on targets' photos as well as interview evaluations and resumes. Male subjects were found to rate targets with managerial appearance more favorably, while female subjects' evaluations were dependent upon geographic region. Subjects from New York rated managerial and nonmanagerial styles similarly, while in Chicago the nonmanagerial style was actually preferred. Managerial appearance was rated more favorably than nonmanagerial appearance by female subjects in Texas. overall, both male and female subjects recommended higher salaries for targets in the managerial appearance condition and rated managerial appearance as more likable.

The authors concluded that the managerial style of

grooming conveyed a more credible and effective corporate image. Again, according to the authors, social desirability may have played a role in some of the female subjects' ratings; they may have rated target women












similarly because they may not have wanted to appear to discriminate on the basis of appearance.

Thvsica. appearance, in te1.ri of dress and grooming, then, has beun shown to influence social judgments not only in terms of attribution of personality traits, but also of behavior toward stimulus persons. Studies of this latter type have also found differences in the way males and females behave toward target persons (Rosenwasser, Adams, & Tansil, 1983; Cash, 1985; Stead & Zinkhan, 1986; Scherbaum & Shepherd, 1987).

Appearance and Occupational Stereotypes

A review of stereotype research reveals a number of findings and general conclusions concerning the role physical appearance plays in the formation of social categories. These studies have dealt mainly with somatic or facial features. The greatest amount of research has been conducted to verify the existence of a physical attractiveness stereotype and how perceptions of attractiveness influence social judgments, expectations, and interaction (Dion,'Berscheid, & Walster, 1972; Derner & Thiel, 1975; Bar-Tal & Saxe, 1976; Adams, 1977; Chaiken, 1986; Dion, 1986).

Though most research of stereotypes has concentrated on specific traits associated with stereotype categories, the popular conception of stereotypes, especially tho~e












involving gender, includes more than just personality traits. It also includes physical appearance, role behaviors, and occupations (Ashmore & Del Boca, 1979; Deaux, 1984). Deaux and Lewis (1984) investigated the saliency of physical descriptors as a major component of gender stereotypes. This type of information described features such as "tall, strong, sturdy, and broadshouldered" as "masculine" physical qualities, while "soft voice, dainty, graceful, and soft" were "feminine" qualities. They found evidence that once information about physical appearance was provided, subjects seemed to rely heavily on it to make inferences about other aspects. Deaux and Lewis concluded their study by calling for further research investigating the extent to which people hold stereotypes in terms of appearance, adding, "it is surprising that investigators have given so little thought to this aspect of gender stereotypes" (p. 1003).

Physical appearance as a component of stereotypes was the focus of Freeman's (1987) study of gender stereotype structure. Subjects were asked to rate stimulus persons, based on written descriptions, on their masculine and feminine traits and behaviors. It was found that when stimulus females were described as unattractive, they were more likely to be rated as engaging in traditional feminine behaviors (such as housework), and less likely to









18

possess "desired" masculine traits (such as independence) than females described as being of high or medium attractiveness. The results "indicate an unfavorable image of the woman who is unattractive" (p. 66). Furthermore, concluded the author, physical appearance served as the most potent source of stereotyping compared to other information provided about the target persons.

As far as professional image is concerned, there

seems to be a kind of "professional" stereotype, in that business attire and professional-type grooming seem to reflect societal norms of what is appropriate for certain types of occupations. Studies have been done concerning the appearance of persons in certain occupations and the importance that physical appearance may have in terms of prediction of success. For example, Croxton, Van Rensselaer, Dutton, & Ellis (1989), in their study of gender-typing of occupations, found that subjects considered physical attractiveness an important predictor of success for two occupations: "mayor" and "TV newsperson.11 Several studies concerning the appearance of television newscasters have found that viewers do have preferences concerning how an anchorman should "look" (Sanders & Pritchett, 1971), and that the apparel of a television newswoman does influence her perceived credibility, in that a conservative dress style which











included suit and jacket resulted in higher ratings of credibility than a simple dress (Harp et al., 1985). Because of the entertainment aspects of the television news industry, it is not surprising that appearance plays an important role in images of professionalism for television news anchors, and female anchors in particular. Indeed, this overemphasis on physical appearance has been cited as a barrier to equal employment opportunities for women in broadcasting (Ferri & Keller, 1985).

Mode of dress as a component of gender stereotyping of occupations was examined by Davis (1982). Subjects viewed slides of males and females dressed in "masculine" or "feminine" styles, as determined by pretests. The "masculine" dress for males consisted of a gray, tailored three-piece suit, white shirt, striped tie, and briefcase. The "feminine" dress for males consisted of pleated slacks, a pastel cotton sweater, mesh shoes, and a gold hoop earring. The "masculine" dress for females consisted of a navy skirted suit, white blouse, tie, and briefcase, while the "feminine" dress consisted of a pink cotton dress, sandals, and white beaded necklace. Male and female targets were assigned to one of two gender-related dress conditions. They were also assigned to one of three occupations: engineering technician (masculine), administrative secretary (feminine), or educational












counselor (neutral). Subjects rated targets on genderrelated personality traits, attractiveness, interpersonal attraction, occupational success, and psychological wellbeing and adjustment.

It was found that the masculine clothing conditions were associated with perceptions of greater occupational success and higher ratings of masculine traits for both men and women. Though the study does have limitations, such as generalizability to real-world settings, the results suggest that masculine traits, occupations, and modes of dress are more highly valued than feminine ones (Davis, 1982). The preference for masculine-typed occupations and traits, and the prestige accorded to masculine occupations have been supported by several studies regarding gender and occupations (Shaffer & Wegley, 1974; Shaffer & Johnson, 1980; Shepelak, Ogden, & Tobin-Bennett, 1984; Beyard-Tyler & Haring, 1984).
















CHAPTER 3
HYPOTHESES AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS Hypotheses

The present study is designed to examine the

relationship between appearance and credibility formation in a mass communication setting: the television interview in which an individual serves as an expert source of information. Based upon the findings of previous studies which have demonstrated the effects of visual cues on impressions and subsequent behavior and gender differences in credibility, the following hypothesis is proposed:

H1. Overall, ratings of expertise, character,
dynamism, and total credibility of male experts
will be significantly higher than ratings of
female experts with identical credentials.

"Credibility" in this context will refer to overall ratings of competence and character as defined by McCroskey and Young (1981). These include ratings of expertness and trust. It is believed that because there seems to be a society-wide bias against women (Richardson, 1988), especially in terms of their competence as professionals, a comparison of male and female experts of similar background will again provide evidence that men and women are not evaluated equally.










22

Lott's (1985) review of research concerning people's evaluations of men and women in a variety of contexts provides extensive evidence for a general societal tendency to devalue a competent woman. A competent woman is more likely to be devalued in serious, believable, and realistic contexts and when there are consequences for the evaluator, such as in a hiring situation. By extending this type of inquiry to a source credibility context in a mass communication setting, we can more fully determine under what circumstances women professionals might be rated differently than men in terms of how competent and trustworthy they appear to be as sources of information. The following hypotheses are offered:

H2. Overall, ratings of expertise, character,
dynamism, and total credibility will be
significantly different for the different
styles of appearance of female target persons.
Specifically, ratings for female experts will
be significantly lower in the casual appearance
condition than in the conservative condition.

H3. Subjects will perceive smaller differences in
expertise, character, dynamism, and total
credibility between men dressed conservatively
and men dressed casually than between women
dressed conservatively and casually.

In these last two hypotheses, "conservative" appearance refers to dress styles which reflect managerial, "masculine" business attire. "Casual" appearance will reflect nonmanagerial, less formal attire. Operationalization of these two conditions will be similar











to that developed by Cash (1985) and Scherbaum and Shepherd (1987).

Hypothesis Two is based on findings of several studies which have shown that people do hold certain appearance expectations for professional, managerial-type occupations (Davis, 1985; Cash, 1985). Harp et al. (1985) demonstrated that people perceive marked differences in modes of dress and what is appropriate work attire for one type of professional. In that study, female news anchors dressed in a conservative manner received higher ratings of credibility than when dressed in less conservative attire.

It is believed that because males hold a higher

initial aura of credibility as experts than females in our society (Lott, 1985) and physical appearance is a more important factor in the evaluations of females than of males (Bar-Tal & Saxe, 1976), alterations in appearance will be expected to affect the credibility of males less than the credibility of women. That is, variations in appearance are not expected to affect a male expert's credibility ratings greatly. on the other hand, Bar-Tal and Saxe (1976) point out that appearance plays a more important part in the role fulfillment of women than of men, and that our society expects women to emphasize their physical appearance. That is, women are expected to care












about the way they look because they are aware of the importance appearance has on their evaluations by others. Thus, it is expected that the way in which a female target is dressed would have a greater impact on how others would rate her as being a competent, expert source than would be the case with male experts.

In summary, the three hypotheses are intended to test the notion that appearance can influence perceptions of competence and trustworthiness. It is expected that differences in appearance will significantly affect credibility ratings more for female sources than for male sources.

Research Ouestions

To better understand the effects visual cues such as physical appearance have on perceptions of credibility, subject factors must also be considered. The way in which one interprets appearance as an indicator of credibility would depend on the salience of this type of nonverbal cue in forming an impression of the target. For instance, Lambert (1972) found that age may affect how a person will react to differences in the appearance of a target individual. When approached by a neatly dressed female, older subjects (over 35 years of age) were more willing to comply with her request to interview them than when the same target was less neatly dressed. This suggests that












older people may have more conventional attitudes toward dress and may be less tolerant toward "sloppy" appearance. Younger people, on the other hand, may not consider "deviant" or unconventional appearance as inappropriate in situations such as the one in which Lambert conducted his study. However, in their study of female news anchors, Harp et al. (1985) did not investigate differences between age groups and their assessments of newscaster credibility.

Another important variable to consider is subjects' sex. Findings concerning how male and female subjects evaluate different dress styles of male and female targets have not been entirely consistent. For instance, in Cash's (1985) study, male subjects preferred a female target's managerial style over a nonmanagerial. look. However, other studies have found no significant differences between men and women's ratings of target persons according to clothing styles, regardless of targets' sex (Hewitt & German, 1987).

Regarding how men and women rate other men and women in general on credibility dimensions such as expertness and trust, Carocci (1988) found that the college men in her study tended to rate men higher on expertness than women. The college women in her study, however, rated both men and women similarly on the same dimensions. It











was also found that women rated men and women higher on expertness, character, and dynamism than men did. In other words, it seemed that women were more generous in their responses than were men. Though Caroccils definition of the study's targets was vague (men and women "in general"), her findings do provide a direction of study which would help us to understand further the dynamics of person perception and how men and women differ in their assessment of male and female sources in terms of credibility.

The main purpose of this study is to investigate how appearance can affect perceptions of credibility. In addition to the hypotheses to be investigated, the following research questions are posed to examine it and how subjects' age and sex influence ratings of a source's credibility depending upon that source's appearance style:

Q1. Do older and younger subjects differ in
their ratings of expertise, character,
dynamism, and total credibility of male and
female experts of similar backgrounds who
appear in different clothing?, and

Q2. Do male and female subjects differ in their
ratings of expertise, character, dynamism,
and total credibility of male and female experts who appear in different clothing?

Results of this study may also add to the

understanding of the composition of stereotypes and the role that physical appearance plays in their formation. In addition, the study may also demonstrate under what











conditions and communicative situations differences in gender may be found.

This study will be limited to investigation of

credibility of expert sources who appear on television informational programming, such as news and talk shows. "Expert" in this context is defined as an individual who has some expertise in a particular area and who appears on such programming.

In terms of practical applicability, it is believed that research of this type would help producers of informational programming to enhance the credibility of their programs by having credible and credible-looking expert guests appear on their programs. Professionals who appear on such shows who want to enhance their own ' credibility might also benefit, as well as professionals in general. Perhaps more important, it is the professional woman who may benefit more from research which provides evidence of ways in which appearance influences perceptions of credibility.















CHAPTER 4
METHOD


Subjects

Subjects were 76 undergraduates at the University of Florida enrolled in classes during the spring semester of 1991, and 89 members of a civic organization in the Orlando, Florida area. The researcher was familiar with the civic organization and solicited the group's participation during one of its monthly meetings. Data were collected during the months of April and May, 1991. There was a total of 67 males and 96 females in the final experiment sample. The average number of subjects per experimental condition was 41. A power analysis showed that the sample size and experimental condition mean met the requirements for achieving a .05 level of significance for the overall F-tests in analyses of variance (Winer, 1962).

Desicfn

A 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 factorial design was used.

Independent variables were: (1) appearance of target source (conservative or casual), (2.) sex of target source (male or female), (3) sex of subject (male or female), and











(4) age group of subject (18 to 34 years old or 35 years old and above).

There were eight sources appearing in the stimulus:

(1) two male targets dressed conservatively; (2) two male targets dressed casually; (3) two female targets dressed conservatively; and (4) two female targets dressed casually. A total of four target sources was used. Each was dressed in both casual and conservative attire. However, subjects saw each target dressed either conservatively or casually, but not both. Thus, each subject saw one male target dressed conservatively, the other male target dressed casually, one female target dressed conservatively, and the other female target dressed casually.

"Conservative" appearance for the male targets

consisted of a navy blue suit (jacket and slacks), white shirt, and blue and red striped tie. Conservative appearance for the female targets consisted of a navy blue suit jacket, white blouse, red polka-dotted bow tie, and navy blue skirt. The video was shot so that subjects did not see the feet of any of the sources. The conservative mode of dress for the male and female targets, then, was designed to convey a professional, managerial image.

"Casual" appearance, on the other hand, was designed to convey a less professional image. Casual appearance












for the male targets consisted of a short-sleeved, pinkand-gray knit shirt and blue jeans. Casual appearance for the female targets consisted of a pink, short-sleeved knit top and dark blue slacks.

Hairstyles in both dress conditions were identical. Male targets had short, above-the-collar hairstyles. Female targets had shorter than shoulder-length hair. Longer hair was coifed into an upswept hairstyle.

In order to counteract any order effects, a "dummy" source appeared before each target. A different dummy appeared before each of the four targets used, for a total of four dummies (two male and two female) and four target sources. These were rotated so that subjects saw all four targets, each in a different mode of dress.

The "dummy" source appeared in a "neutral" mode of dress, neither conservative nor casual. Male dummy sources were dressed in a white long-sleeved shirt, dark blue slacks and either a gray or brown cardigan sweater. Female dummy sources appeared either in a light-blue, long-sleeved blouse and dark blue skirt or a white longsleeved blouse and a brown skirt.

None of the targets or dummies wore glasses. Male

targets and dummies had no beards or moustaches. All were judged by the researcher to appear to be between 30 and 45 years of age.












There were four experimental conditions. In each

appeared two male targets, one conservative, one casual; two female targets, one conservative, one casual; and four dummy sources, two males and two females dressed neutrally. Each target was preceded by a dummy; the same dummy appeared before the same target.

Materials

Four videotaped versions of the stimulus were

produced. Each consisted of a videotape containing eight simulated television interviews. The source was identified by words below the face consisting of his or her name and occupation.

A total of eight segment topics was used. All dealt with a similar subject--marine animals. This subject was chosen because of its noncontroversial and informative nature. Each segment dealt with a different aspect of the topic, and each appeared to be an excerpt from a fulllength interview in a studio setting.

In each segment a male program "host" appeared with the source. The host was dressed similarly to the dummy sources. He wore a beige suit jacket, cream-colored shirt, yellow patterned tie, and tan slacks. The host did not have glasses, a beard or moustache, and his hairstyle was the same as the other male targets and dummies.













Table 3-1
Order of Sources in Experimental Conditions


Condition 1

Source


Condition 2

Dress Source


Dress


Neutral

Casual Neutral

Casual Neutral Conservative Neutral conservative



Dress


Dummy 1 Male A Dummy 2

Female A Dummy 3

Male B Dummy 4

Female B Condition 4

Source


Neutral Conservative Neutral Conservative Neutral Casual Neutral Casual



Dress


Neutral Conservative Neutral Casual Neutral Casual Neutral Conservative


Dummy 1 Male A Dummy 2

Female A Dummy 3

Male B Dummy 4

Female B Condition 3

Source


Dummy 4

Female B Dummy 1 Male A Dummy 2

Female A Dummy 3

Male B


Neutral

Casual Neutral Conservative Neutral Conservative Neutral Casual


Dummy 4

Female B Dummy 1 Male A Dummy 2

Female A Dummy 3

Male B


Note: Dummies 1 and 3 are female; Dummies 2
male.


and 4 are












The same program host appeared in the same clothing in all eight segments. The host asked the source (target or dummy) a question five to 10 seconds in length concerning marine biology, with the source responding with an answer that did not exceed 50 seconds in length. The segment began with a wide-shot in which both the host, who was not identified with a graphic, and source appeared. After the host posed a question, the source was shown in a medium-shot with an identification across the chest area which consisted of two lines. On the first line was a fictitious name, and on the second line were the words "associate professor of zoology." All sources, both target and dummy, were identified in the same manner. The graphic remained on screen for an average of seven 'seconds while the source was shown responding to the host's question. It appeared again during the last seven seconds of the source's response. 0

All targets and dummies were assigned a separate

topic. Targets spoke about the same topic in both dress conditions. Each interview, with both dummy and target sources, lasted approximately 45 to 55 seconds in length. The interviews were professionally produced in the studios of a local public television station. The host was the station's news director who also hosted authentic informational programming produced at the station. All












interview scripts were displayed on teleprompters. Segments were thoroughly rehearsed so that gestures and animation by the target sources were equivalent in both dress conditions. The interviews were recorded onto 1/211 videotape. Total tape time was approximately eight minutes.

Procedure

Several pretests were conducted. These were to

ensure that all segment topics were rated similarly in interest, that target and dummy sources were perceived to be of similar physical attractiveness and rated similarly on several credibility variables when dressed in identical costumes, and that the casual, conservative, and neutral dress conditions were rated as being significantly different.

Pretest 1: Topic interest

A group of 19 students, 11 males and 8 females, enrolled in an introductory mass-media writing class served as subjects. All were between the ages of 18 and 34.

Subjects read 16 segments of purported scripts.

After reading each segment, subjects filled out a sevenpoint semantic differential scale indicating how interesting or boring they found each segment topic (see Appendix A). Mean scores for each segment were used to











assess the similarity in interest ratings of each topic. Mean ratings ranged from 4.37 to 2.89, with higher ratings indicating higher interest. The two segments that rated highest and the two that rated lowest in interest were discarded. The remaining 12 topics were randomly assigned to the actors appearing in the stimulus videotape used in Pretest 2.

Pretest 2: Target similarity

A group of 42 students, 21 males and 21 females, enrolled in an undergraduate telecommunication survey course for non-majors served as subjects. Forty-one subjects were between the ages of 18 and 24, and one was between 25 and 34.

Subjects viewed a videotape of interview segments

either with or without audio of 12 persons (six male and six female) dressed in conservative attire. Subjects were randomly divided into two groups: 23 viewed the stimulus videotape without audio; 19 viewed it with audio.

The purpose of this pretest was mainly to see that

the four people who were to serve as target sources in the final experiment were perceived as similarly attractive and competent. The 12 topics which were pretested as being of similar interest were used; each source talked about one topic. After viewing each segment, subjects rated each target on the following seven-point semantic-











differential scales: attractive-unattractive, intelligent-unintelligent, trained-untrained, expertinexpert, and competent-incompetent (see Appendix B). A reliability analysis of the latter four semanticdifferential scales used to assess competence similarity for the 12 sources resulted in a Cronbach's alpha of .92. Ratings on all four scales were then totaled and treated as composite credibility scores. The highest possible credibility score was 28, the lowest was 4.

Credibility scores for each of the 12 actors were then submitted to t-tests to check for significant differences between the audio and no-audio conditions. No differences were found at the .05 significance level based on two-tailed probability. Not hearing the actors had no significant effect on how subjects rated their credibility.

The credibility scores from the audio condition were then used to determine which eight actors would appear in the stimulus to be used in Pretest 3 and the final experiment. Mean credibility scores ranged from 20.1 to 22.8. The four actors (two male and two female) receiving the lowest credibility scores were eliminated from the stimulus. The four sources with the highest competence scores served as the dress-condition targets in the final











experiment. Those four sources with the next highest competence scores served as dummies.

All 12 actors were rated similarly on attractiveness, with mean ratings on this item ranging from 3.2 to 4.5 (on a seven-point scale). In addition, t-tests between male and female actors' credibility scores showed no significant differences in either audio or no-audio condition. Male and female actors dressed conservatively were rated similarly in credibility. Pretest 3: Dress conditions

Subjects in this final pretest were 27 students (10 males, 17 females) enrolled in an undergraduate sociology course. Twenty-four subjects were between the ages of 18 and 24, and three were between 25 and 44.

Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups: one group contained 11 subjects, the other contained 16. one group viewed segments of Male Target A dressed casually, Male Target B dressed conservatively, Female Target A dressed casually, Female Target B dressed conservatively, and all four dummies dressed neutrally. The other group viewed segments of Male Target A dressed conservatively, Male Target B dressed casually, Female Target A dressed conservatively, Female Target B dressed casually, and all four dummies.









38

After viewing the targets, subjects rated them on the following seven-point semantic-differential scales: conservative clothing--casual clothing, professionallooking--unprofessional-looking, and masculine clothingfeminine clothing (see Appendix C). Subjects also rated the dummies on the same scales to determine that dummy dress styles were perceived to be neither very conservative nor very casual and neither very professional nor very unprofessional.

For each of the four actors who were designated to be targets, individual t-tests run between dress conditions showed significant differences at the .05 level (based on two-tailed probability) on the conservative-casual clothing and professional-unprofessional looking scales. When actors appeared in conservative attire, they received significantly higher ratings on both scales than when they appeared in casual clothing. The overall mean rating on the conservative clothing--casual clothing scale for targets in the conservative clothing condition was 6.73, with seven indicating very conservative clothing. The mean rating for targets in the casual clothing condition was 1.92. The overall mean rating on the professionallooking--unprofessional-looking scale for targets in the conservative condition was 6.42, with seven indicating












very professional-looking. The mean rating on the same scale for targets in the casual condition was 2.65.

T-tests conducted on ratings for the masculinefeminine clothing scales for actors in the two dress conditions revealed significant differences for only two of the four targets, one male and one female. In both cases significantly higher ratings on the masculinelooking--feminine-looking scale (seven indicating very masculine-clothing) were given to these targets when they were dressed in conservative clothing than when dressed in casual clothing.1 In short, conservative clothing was rated as being more masculine for these two targets.

A reliability analysis conducted on mean ratings for the four dummy sources appearing in the neutral dress condition showed that subjects rated them similarly on the conservative-casual and professional-unprofessional looking scales (Cronbach's alpha= .71 and .62, respectively). Ratings for both these scales were between

4.72 (highest) and 2.13 (lowest). A reliability analysis conducted on mean ratings for the masculine-feminine clothing scale showed that subjects rated dummy sources similarly on this scale (Cronbach's alpha= .56). Mean masculine clothing-feminine clothing ratings for dummies were between 5.45 (highest) and 2.9 (lowest).












It was concluded that the conservative and casual dress condition manipulation was successful. Actors appearing in the videotape used for this pretest were included in the final experimental stimulus. Final Experiment

In the actual experiment, subjects were randomly

assigned to one of four groups. Each group viewed one of four versions of the stimulus videotape. After each segment, the videotape machine was stopped and subjects filled out credibility scales measuring each source's competence, character, and dynamism as defined by McCroskey and Young (1981) and Miller and Hewgill (1964).

Each characteristic was presented as a series of

seven-point semantic differential scales. The competence dimension was measured by the following scales: intelligent-unintelligent, trained-untrained, expertinexpert, informed-uninformed, competent-incompetent, and stupid-bright. The scales used for the character dimension were: virtuous-sinful, dishonest-honest, selfish-unselfish, sympathetic-unsympathetic, high character-low character, and trustworthy-untrustworthy. Dynamism was measured by the following scales: aggressive-meek, bold-timid, energetic-tired, and extroverted-introverted (see Appendix D).












After rating the last source in each condition,

subjects completed a questionnaire containing a series of items concerning demographic information: age, sex, education level, income level, and occupation (or, if retired, former occupation) (see Appendix E).

Instrument Validity and Reliability

The 16 semantic-differential scales of items used in the final experiment have previously been found to be correlated with three principal dimensions used to measure source credibility: competence (called expertise in this experiment), character, and dynamism. The competence and character variables used in the present study's instrument are borrowed from factor-analytic research by McCroskey and Young (1981). The four variables used to measure the dynamism dimension were previously used by Miller and Hewgill (1964).

Before analysis of results pertaining to the

hypotheses and research questions could be conducted, validity of the experimental instrument was verified to show, in terms of empirical validity, that the instrument actually taps the attributes of expertise, character, and dynamism that it purports to measure, and that the instrument extracts only those attributes that are of interest to the researcher. By doing this, the researcher











can be assured that the instrument also has construct validity (Stamm, 1981).

The instrument used should also demonstrate some degree of reliability in terms of its stability and consistency. That is, the instrument should be able to produce similar results when administered over time. Reliable measures should be able to detect relationships between variables and give the researcher confidence that the instrument will yield the same results when used repeatedly (Wimmer and Dominick, 1983).

Empirical and construct validity of the variables

used in the present study were demonstrated by conducting a confirmatory factor analysis on the 16 scales used to gauge how subjects perceived the actors appearing in the stimulus video. A reliability analysis using Cronbach's alpha was used to assess the general reliability of the credibility measures. These two procedures were used to verify the correlations between the variables contained in each credibility dimension. Factor Analysis

Confirmatory factor analysis begins with a

preconceived idea about the possible structure of a particular area. Variables are then selected which might fit that structure (Child, 1990). In this case, expertise was measured by the following seven-point semantic









43

differential scales: intelligent-unintelligent, traineduntrained, expert-inexpert, informed-uninformed, competent-incompetent, and stupid-bright. Sources' character was represented by the following seven-point scales: virtuous-sinful, honest-dishonest, selfishunselfish, sympathetic-unsympathetic, high character-low character, and trustworthy-untrustworthy. Dynamism was measured on the following four scales: aggressive-meek, bold-timid, energetic-tired, and extroverted-introverted.

The factor analysis was conducted after all data from the final experiment were collected. Due to the unwieldy nature of attempting to analyze all 16 variables for all eight sources, a total of 128 variables, eight separate factor analyses were conducted, one for each source subjects saw, regardless of experimental condition. Thus, only the 16 variables used to rate each source were included in the factor extraction.

A principal factor design utilizing varimax rotation was used, with missing values replaced by variable means. Factor loadings produced in the rotated factor matrix were used to determine how well variable groupings matched their relevant indices.

The desired three-factor extraction was obtained for two of the eight analyses. Five of the analyses resulted in a four-factor solution, and one of the analyses









44

resulted in a five-factor solution (for examples of threeand four-factor solutions, see Tables 3-2 and 3-3). Among these, there were no consistent patterns of aberrant variable groupings. In general, those variables which were expected to be correlated, were. Variables which were extracted as components of separate factors but had a minimum loading of .30 on their predetermined index were considered as part of the appropriate factor. Thus, for purposes of this study, it was concluded that the variables used to determine each credibility index were sufficiently correlated.

Reliability

Reliability analyses were conducted by creating separate scales for each of the three credibility dimensions. Variable ratings for all eight sources viewed by subjects, regardless of condition, were included in the analyses. Results are as follows: expertise dimension Cronbach's alpha = .98 (six variables, a total of 48 items analyzed); character dimension Cronbach's alpha = .99 (six variables, a total of 48 items analyzed); and dynamism dimension Cronbach's alpha = .98 (four variables, a total of 32 items analyzed) (n = 165 for all three analyses, including missing values).

High reliability coefficients among the variables led to the conclusion that they could be summed into their









45

appropriate indices for use in testing the hypotheses and research questions.

Analysis

The scales for the credibility dimensions were scored by assigning a value of seven to the responses indicating the highest degree of perceived intelligence, training, expertise, and so on. A value of one was given to responses for the lowest ratings.

Scores for expertise, character, and dynamism were

obtained by summing the values of each dimension's various factors. Accordingly, the possible range of scores for each dimension was: competence--6 to 42, character--6 to 42, and dynamism--4 to 28. The maximum possible total credibility score was 112.

Hypothesis One was tested by creating mean dimension scores according to target sources' sex, regardless of dress condition. Expertise, character, dynamism, and total credibility scores for the two male target sources were averaged, as were the scores for the two female target sources. Thus, there were four scores for each sex. These were submitted to t-tests to determine if mean scores for male and female targets were significantly different.

For Hypothesis Two, scores for both female target

sources were averaged according to dress condition. These












Table 3-2
Example of Three-Factor Solution of Credibility Variables



Factor Loadings


Variable Expertise Character Dynamism


Expert-Inexpert .86890

Intelligent-Unintelligent .72823 Informed-Uninformed .72127

Bright-Stupid .63599

Competent-Incompetent .58738

Trained-Untrained .57734

Honest-Dishonest .75405

Trustworthy-Untrustworthy .74913

High Character-Low Character .73580

Sympathetic-Unsympathetic .66107

Virtuous-Sinful .66021

Selfish-Unselfish .64408

Aggressive-Meek .83165

Energetic-Tired .68346

Bold-Timid .57408

Extroverted-Introverted .45554












Table 3-3
Example of Four-Factor Solution of Credibility Variables



Factor Loadings


Variable Expertise Character Dynamism


Expert-Inexpert .73516

Intelligent-Unintelligent .73308 Informed-Uninformed .78259

Bright-Stupid .53441

*Competent-Incompetent .45798

*Tra ined-Untraimed .46763

Honest-Dishonest .63889

Trustworthy-Untrustworthy .69396

High Character-Low Character .62931

Sympathetic-Unsympathetic .55329

Virtuous-Sinful .77853

Selfish-Unselfish . 67965

Aggressive-Meek .77490

Energetic-Tired .53406

Bold-Timid .56675

Extroverted-Introverted .46779



*These two variables were loaded onto a fourth factor. Factor loadings on this separate factor were: Competent-Incompetent .79621
Trained-Untrained .55140












means were then submitted to t-tests to check for significant differences between casual and conservative dress conditions.

For Hypothesis Three, differences between expertise, character, dynamism, and total credibility scores of conservatively dressed male targets and casually dressed male targets were compared to differences between the same scores of conservatively dressed female targets and casually dressed female targets. A separate difference score was calculated for each dimension and for total credibility by subtracting scores in the casual condition from their corresponding scores in the conservative condition. Mean difference scores for each dimension and total credibility were then submitted to t-tests to-see if differences between dress conditions for male sources were smaller than differences in dress conditions for female sources.

In sum, the statistical procedures used to test the three hypotheses were intended to analyze the differences between subjects, since target sources were not seen in both modes of dress. In testing Hypothesis One, scores for male sources were compared to scores for female sources, regardless of dress. Hypothesis Two was tested by comparing scores of female sources when they were dressed conservatively to their scores when they were











dressed casually. Hypothesis Three was tested by

comparing differences between clothing conditions of male

sources with differences between clothing conditions of

female sources.

In order to examine differences in how older and

younger subjects and male and female subjects rated the

four targets, dimension and total credibility scores for each of the four target sources were submitted to two-way analyses of variance tests (ANOVA), with subjects' age and sex serving as independent variables.

Note
iMale Target A received significantly higher ratings on the masculine clothing-feminine clothing scale (with higher scores indicating higher masculinity) when dressed conservatively (M = 7.0) than when dressed casually (M =
5.9), t(24) = -4.08, p < .001. Subjects rated Female Target A's conservative clothing to be significantly more masculine (M = 3.6) than her casual clothing (M = 2.36, t(22.3) = -2.35, R = .028. No significant differences were found for mean scores on the masculine clothingfeminine clothing scale between conservative and casual conditions for Male Target B (conservative: M = 6.27; casual: M = 5.31) and Female Target B (conservative: M
2.55; casual: M = 2.87).















CHAPTER 5
RESULTS


The present study was designed to examine the

relationship between appearance and subsequent perceptions of credibility of male and female sources appearing in a television interview. The hypotheses were intended to investigate the differences between credibility attributed to male and female experts, and to see if the way a source dresses makes a difference in how others perceive his or her credibility. The research questions were posed to investigate the effects a receiver's age and sex have on how he or she perceived a source based on that source's appearance. Findings are presented first in terms of the three hypotheses, and then in terms of the interactions, if any, between the age and sex of message receivers and their ratings of target sources' credibility.

Description of Subiects

The final experiment was conducted with a total of 165 subjects: 76 were students enrolled in various undergraduate classes at the University of Florida; 89 were members of a civic organization based in Orlando, Florida.












The student sample contained students enrolled in

undergraduate classes in psychology (D = 46), mass media writing (E = 19), and art (n = 11). There were 26 males and 50 females. Seventy-one were between the ages of 18 and 34, and five were between the ages of 35 and 70. Most, 80%, were undergraduates, and 20% reported having a bachelor's degree or some formal education beyond college. Mean family income for this group was between $40,000 and $60,000 per year.

The civic organization sample of 89 subjects

contained 41 males and 46 females. Two subjects did not indicate their sex. Seventy-eight of the subjects from this group were between the ages of 35 and 70 or above; only eight were between the ages of 18 and 34. Three subjects did not indicate their age. As for education level, 24% had completed high school, 35% had some college education or bachelor's degree, 8% had a vocational or trade school education, and 31% had some formal education beyond college or some type of graduate degree. Two percent of the subjects did not indicate education level. Mean family income for this group was between $40,000 and $60,000 per year.

Of the 165 total number of subjects, 79 were between the ages of 18 and 35, and 83 were 35 years old or older











(three subjects did not indicate age). Males totaled 67, females totaled 96 (two subjects did not indicate sex).

The number of subjects assigned to each experimental condition were as follows: Condition One--42, Condition Two--40, Condition Three--38, Condition Four--45. There was a mean of 17 males and 24 females per condition. There was a mean of 19 subjects between the ages of 18 and 34 per condition, and a mean of 21 subjects 35 or older per condition.

Results for Hypotheses

Hypothesis One

The first hypothesis predicted that male experts would receive higher ratings of competence, character, dynamism, and overall credibility than female experts with identical credentials, regardless of dress condition. This hypothesis was supported only in part. Results of t-tests conducted between male and female target experts' credibility dimensions show that significant differences were found only for the dimension of dynamism. Subjects rated male targets higher in dynamism (M = 19.72) than they did female targets (M = 18.53), :t(152) = 4.74, D < .001.

Closer examination of this finding revealed that one of the female targets (Female Target A) received significantly lower dynamism ratings than the two male











targets when comparisons were made within both dress conditions. In the casual dress condition, Female Target A received significantly lower scores in dynamism (LI = 18.26) than Male Target A (M = 19.19), L(77) 2.18, R .03, and Male Target B (M = 20.6), t(145.8) 3.48, R .001. In the conservative dress condition, Female Target A also was rated significantly lower in dynamism (L = 17.32) than Male Target A (M = 19.69), :L(67) 4.13, p < .001, and Male Target B (M = 19.96), t(147.6) 3.86, R < .001. Female Target A was also rated significantly lower in dynamism (M = 17.32) than the other female target (B) (M = 19.39) when the two were dressed in conservative clothing, t(148.2) = 3.12, R = .002.

In addition, Female Target B was rated significantly lower in dynamism (M = 19.38) than Male Target B (M = 20.6) when both were dressed casually, :L(72) = 2.16, R .03. Though Female Target B was rated to be slightly higher in dynamism (M = 19.38) than Male Target A (M 18.89) when both were dressed casually, this difference was not significant. As for comparisons made within the conservative dress condition, Male Target A (M = 19.57) and Male Target B (M = 19.88) were rated slightly higher in dynamism than Female Target A (M = 19.39), but these differences were not significant.











Taken together, these additional findings led the researcher to conclude that the dynamism finding mainly could be attributed to the lower ratings given to Female Target A. With one exception, however, both female targets were rated lower in dynamism than both male targets, though these differences were not always significant.

Means for male and female target credibility ratings are presented in Table 4-1. Male targets received only slightly higher expertise and total credibility scores. Female targets, on the other hand, received higher scores in the character dimension. However, none of these differences was significant. Hypothesis Two

Hypothesis Two predicted that credibility ratings for female experts would be significantly lower when they appeared in casual clothing rather than in conservative clothing. This hypothesis was not supported. T-tests run on each credibility dimension found no significant differences between the two dress conditions, although it seemed that when female targets were dressed conservatively, they received slightly higher ratings in expertise, dynamism, and overall credibility (see Table 42). Casual dress of female targets did not seem to detract significantly from their credibility.












Table 4-1
Mean Credibility Dimension Scores for Male and Female Targets, Regardless of Dress Condition



Target


Credibility Dimension Males Females




Expertise 33.99 33.94
SD 5.0 5.1

Character 28.25 28.61
SD 6.3 6.4

Dynamism 19.72a 18.53a
SD 3.8 3.3

Total Credibility 80.68 79.91
SD 13.4 13.6



Note: Means with common subscripts are significantly
different at the R < .001 level, one-tailed
probability.

Hypothesis Three

Hypothesis Three was not supported. T-tests

conducted on the differences between male and female source scores based on their dress condition revealed that differences between scores for males were not significantly smaller than those for females. In fact, differences in the character dimension between conservatively and casually dressed men were larger than those for women. It seemed that character scores for












casually dressed males were higher than those for conservatively dressed males. In other words, for the character dimension, the difference between dress conditions for males (M = -.95) was significantly larger than the difference between dress conditions for females (M = .23), t(142) = 2.11, R = .036 (see Table 4-2).

When the dimension scores for male targets were

examined, it was found that when male targets were dressed casually, they received higher scores in the character Table 4-2
Mean Difference Scores for Conservative and Casual Dress Conditions of Male and Female Target Sources



Mean Difference Score

Dimension Females Males t df prob.


Expertise .14 -.42 .85 148 .395
SD 6.0 6.4

Character .23 -.95 2.11 142 .036
SD 4.4 5.1

Dynamism -.12 -.02 -.20 144 .839
SD 4.5 4.2

Total
credibility .63 -1.69 1.56 149 .122
SD 12.6 14.5



Note: Mean difference scores for each dimension were
calculated by the following equation: Conservative
score - casual score = difference score











dimension (M = 29-18) than they did when dressed in conservative clothing (M = 28.18), t(147) = 2.38, R < .02

(see Table 4-3) .

Closer examination of the difference in character scores between conservatively and casually dressed male targets showed that older subjects gave higher character ratings to casually dressed males. Older males rated casually dressed male targets (M = 30.89) significantly higher in character than they did conservatively dressed males (M = 28.39), t(35) = 2.35, R = .025. older females also rated casually dressed male targets (M = 27.76) significantly higher in character than they did conservatively dressed male targets (M = 26.13), t(37) = 2-09, R = .04. No significant differences between the two dress conditions were found among younger subjects of either sex.

In sum, the findings for Hypothesis Three showed that dress did not make more of a significant difference in the credibility ratings of female targets than it did for male targets. Regarding character, the opposite was true: Among older subjects, dress did make a significant difference in how they rated male targets. Older men and women regarded male targets dressed casually to be higher in character than male targets dressed conservatively.











Table 4-3
Mean Credibility Dimension Scores for Male and Female Targets by Dress Condition



Male Targets Female Targets


Dimension Conservative Casual Conservative Casual



Expertise 33.80 34.18 34.14 33.84
SD 5.8 6.0 6.0 5.9

Character 28.18a 29.18a 29.46 29.21
SD 5.9 6.2 5.5 5.6

Dynamism 19.82 19.79 18.57 18.81
SD 4.0 4.3 4.0 3.8

Total
credibility 79-91 81.46 80.38 79.64
SD 14.9 15.5 15.0 15.1



Note: Means with common subscripts significantly differ
at the R < .05 level, two-tailed probability. Summary of HvPothesis Findings

Findings concerning the three hypotheses show that

subjects rated male and female targets equally in terms of expertise, character, and total credibility. The only dimension in which male sources had higher scores was dynamism. These differences were mainly due to lower ratings given to one of the female targets.

Clothing of female targets had no effect on how subjects judged their credibility. Male targets were











rated as higher in character by older subjects when dressed in casual rather than conservative attire, but their expertise, dynamism, and total credibility were not affected by what they wore.

Results for Research Ouestions

The two research questions were posed to examine

differences between older and younger subjects and male and female subjects. To accommodate unequal cell sizes based on age and sex, multiple analyses of variance (MANOVA) were conducted for each of the dependent variables based on target sex and dress condition, with subjects' age and sex as factors.

If interaction effects of subject age and sex were present, t-tests were used to probe significant differences between subject cell means (Weaver, 1981). If no interaction effects were revealed but differences were suspected, t-tests were used to uncover significant findings. All t-test procedures were based on two-tailed probability.

Male Targets, Regardless of Dress

Expertise. No significant main effects for subject age or sex were found for ratings of male targets' expertise. However, a subsequent t-test conducted between ratings given by younger females (M = 35.5) and older females (LI = 33.56) revealed a significant difference at












the R < .05 level, t(89) = 2.01. A comparison of means for male target expertise by subject age and sex is found in Table 4-4. Men, regardless of age, seemed to rate male targets similarly on expertise.

Character. A two-way analysis of variance revealed a significant interaction between subject age and sex on the character dimension for male targets, F(1, 146) = 5.23, R = .02. Mean scores for this dimension are found in Table 4-4. T-tests used to probe differences between subgroups found that younger females (M = 30.03) tended to give higher ratings in the character dimension to male targets than did younger males (M = 28.17), :L(60.0)

-1.98, R = .05, and older females (LI = 26.10), :t(63)

2.78, R < .01. Both older and younger men seemed to rate male targets similarly.

Dynamism. No significant main effects for age or sex were found for the dynamism of male targets. However, ttests again revealed a significant difference between younger and older females, with younger females (M = 20.57) giving higher ratings of dynamism to male targets than did older females (M =18.47), t(63.2) = 2.19, p = .03 (see Table 4-4).

Total credibility. A two-way ANOVA for overall

credibility scores for male targets revealed a significant main effect for subject age, F(I, 149) = 7.37, R = .007.












Younger females tended to give male targets the highest total credibility scores (see Table 4-4). Subsequent ttests found that younger females' ratings (M = 86.1) of male targets were significantly higher than those given by younger males (M = 81.5), t(69) = -1.96, R = .05, by older males (M = 79.63), t(59.0) = -2.28, R = .03, and by older females (M = 76.19), t(68.1) = 3.72, R < .001. In sum, younger female subjects gave significantly higher total credibility ratings to male target sources than did the other three subgroups.

Female Targets. Regardless of Dress

Expertise. A significant two-way interaction between subject age and sex was found for expertise of female targets F(1, 149) = 8.65, R = .004. Younger females gave significantly higher expertise ratings 36.10) to

female targets than did younger males 32.89), :t(69)

-3.06, R = .003, older males (M = 34), t(68) -2.17, R .03, and older females (M = 32.41), t(70.8) 3.63, R .001 (see Table 4-4).

Character. Interaction effects of subject age and

sex were also significant for character ratings of female targets, F(1, 147) = 8.02, R = .005. T-tests conducted between the four subgroups uncovered a plethora of significant differences (see Table 4-4). Younger females gave significantly higher character ratings to female












targets (M = 31.20) than did younger males (M = 28.57), :t(69) = -2.31, p = .02, older males = 28.72), t(83) =

-2.02, R < .05, and older females (M 25.30), t(66.1) = 4.01, R < .001. In addition, older female subjects (M = 25.30) gave significantly lower character scores to female targets than did both younger males (M = 28.57), L(60.5)

2.23, R = .03, and older males (M = 28.72), :t(78) = 2.01, R < .05. To sum, younger female subjects gave the highest character scores to female targets, while older females gave the lowest scores. Older and younger men seemed to rate female targets similarly on character.

Dynamism. A significant two-way interaction between subject age and sex was found for the dynamism dimension of female targets, F(1, 146) = 7.12, R < .01. Younger female subjects rated female targets significantly higher in dynamism (M = 19.85) than did younger males (M = 18.17), t(69) = -3.04, p = .003, older males 18.55),

t(60.3) = -2.03, p < .05, and older females 17.30),

t(59.2) = 3.37, R = .001 (see Table 4-4).

Total credibility. A significant two-way interaction between subject age and sex was found for total credibility scores of female targets, f(l, 149) = 8.78, R .004. Younger males (M = 79.63) and older females (M 73.57) rated the total credibility of female targets significantly differently, t(63.9) = 2.08, R = .04.












Younger female subjects (M = 87.16) rated women targets higher than did younger males (M = 79.63), t(69) = -3.47, R = .001, older males (L = 78.76), t(58.1) = -3.06, R = .003, and older females (M = 73.57), t(64.5) = 5.0, R < .001. In sum, younger female subjects gave significantly higher ratings of total credibility to female target sources than did the other three subgroups (see Table 4-4).

Conservatively Dressed Female Targets

Expertise. A significant two-way interaction between subject age and sex was found for expertise of conservatively dressed female targets, F(1,147) = 5.24, R = .02. Younger females (M = 36.02) rated conservatively dressed female targets significantly higher in expertise than did younger males (M = 32.74), t(69) = -2.59, R = .01, and older females (M = 32.88, t(70.2) = 2.45, p < .02) (see Table 4-5). older and younger male subjects tended to rate conservatively dressed female targets similarly on expertise.

Character. A significant two-way interaction between subject age and sex was found for the character dimension of conservatively dressed female targets, F(1, 143) =

7.42, p = .007. Significant differences were once again found between younger females (L = 31.08) and older females (M = 26.15), :t(68.6) = 3.39, R = .001. Younger












Table 4-4
Mean Credibility Dimension Scores for Male and Female Targets Regardless of Dress Condition by Subject Ace and Sex



Male Subjects Female Subjects


Dimension Older Younger Older Younger


Male Targets

Expertise 33.54 33.39 33.56a 35.50a
SD 5.4 4.8 5.0 4.2

Character 28.97 28.17a 26.10b 30.03ab
SD 6.5 3.2 8.1 4.6

Dynamism 19.92 19.94 18.47a 20.57a
SD 3.1 2.9 5.6 3.0

Total
credibility 79.63a 81.50b 76.19c 86.10abc
SD 15.6 9.3 15.1 9.3



Female Targets

Expertise 34.0 a 32.89b 32.41c 36.10abc
SD 5.0 5.0 5.7 3.7

Character 28.72ad 28.57be 25.30cde 31.20abc
SD 6.4 3.4 8.4 4.9

Dynamism 18.55a 18.17b 17.30c 19.85abc
SD 3.3 2.0 4.4 2.3

Total
credibility 78.76a 79.63bd 73.57cd 87.16abc
SD 15.2 8.0 15.7 8.8


Note: Means along dimensions with
significantly differ at R <
probability.


common subscripts .05 level, two-tailed












females (M = 31.08) also gave significantly higher character ratings to conservatively dressed female sources than did younger males (M = 28.39, t(69) = -2.1, R = .04. Younger and older male subjects again tended to behave similarly (see Table 4-5).

Dynamism. A significant two-way interaction was found between subject age and sex for dynamism scores given to conservatively dressed female targets, F(1, 144) = 5.36, R = .02. Younger females gave higher dynamism scores to conservatively dressed female targets (M = 19.44) than did older females (M = 17.24), t(69.8) = 2.36, R = .02; older and younger men seemed to rate these targets similarly on dynamism (see Table 4-5).

Total credibility. As for total credibility scores of conservatively dressed female targets, a two-way interaction between subject age and sex was significant at the R = .01 level, F(1, 147) = 6.86. Younger females (M = 86.54) gave significantly higher overall credibility scores to conservatively dressed female targets than did younger males (M = 79.0), t(69) = -2.79, R = .007, older males (M = 79.97), t(59.4) -2.0, R = .05, and older females (M = 74.62, t(69.5) 3.89, R < .001 (see Table 45). In sum, younger females rated conservatively dressed female targets higher in overall credibility than did the three other subgroups.












Casually Dressed Female Targets

Expertise. Significant interaction effects between subject age and sex were found among expertise scores of casually dressed female targets, F(1, 149) = 7.59, R = .007. Younger females (M = 36.19) gave significantly higher expertise ratings to casually dressed female targets than did younger males (M = 33.04), t(69) = -2.73, p < .01, and older females (M = 31.98), t(71.7) = 3.97, R < .001 (see Table 4-5). Differences between mean expertise scores for casually dressed female targets given by younger females (M = 36.19) and older males approached significance, (M = 33.97), t(85) = -1.93, R = .057. No differences were found between older and younger men in their ratings of casually dressed females' expertise.

Character. A significant interaction between subject age and sex was found for the character dimension of casually dressed female targets, F(1, 142) = 6.10, R < .02. Younger females gave significantly higher character scores to casually dressed female targets (M = 31.31) than did younger males (M = 28.74), t(69)

-2.02, R < .05, older males (M 28.78), t(82) -2.14, R < .04, and older females (M 26.41), :t(67.3) 3.5, R = .001 (see Table 4-5).

Dynamism. A significant main effect was found for

subject age on the dynamism dimension of casually dressed










67

female targets, F(1, 144) = 4.78, R = .03. Subsequent ttests revealed that younger female subjects rated casually dressed female targets significantly higher in dynamism (M = 20.27) than did younger males (M = 18.48), :t(69) = -2.5, R < .02, older males (LI = 18.22), t(63.1)

-2.67, R .01, and older females (M = 17.8), t(63.0)

2.96, R .004 (see Table 4-5).

Total credibility. A significant interaction between subject age and sex for total credibility of casually dressed female targets was found, F(1, 149) = 7.54, R = .007. Younger female subjects found casually dressed female targets to be higher in overall credibility (M = 87.77) than did younger males (M = 80.26), t(69)

-3-11, R = .003, older males (LI = 77.82), t(58.3) -3.48, R = .001, and older females (M =72.49), :t(61.8) = 5.1, p < .001. Significant differences were also found between older females (M = 72.49) and younger males (M = 80.26, t(63.6) = 2.27, R < .03 (see Table 4-5). Older male and female subjects seemed to rate casually dressed female targets similarly on total credibility, as did older and younger males. Older females rated casually dressed female targets significantly lower in total credibility than did younger males and females. It should be noted that as with conservatively dressed female targets, younger female subjects rated casually dressed females












significantly higher in total credibility than did the three other subgroups.

Conservatively Dressed Male Targets

Expertise. No significant interaction effects were found among expertise scores for conservatively dressed male targets. T-tests conducted between subgroups did show significant differences: Younger females rated conservatively dressed male targets significantly higher in expertise (M = 35.73) than did older males = 32.51), t(67.2) = -2.44, R < .02, and older females 33.23),

t(89) = 2.23, p < .03 (Table 4-6).

Character. A significant two-way interaction between age and sex was found on the character dimension of conservatively dressed male targets, F(1, 144) = 8.53, D = .004. Younger females (M = 30.27) rated conservatively dressed males higher in character than did younger males (L = 27.57), t(63.3) = -2.74, p < .01. Older males (M = 28.39) gave significantly higher character ratings than did older females (M = 25.07, t(75) = 2.03, R < .05. Younger females also gave conservatively dressed males significantly higher character scores (M = 30.27) than did older females 25.07), :L(65.0) = 3.58,

R = .001 (see Table 4-6).












Table 4-5
Mean Credibility Dimension Scores for Female TarQets According to Dress Condition by Subject AQe and Sex


Dimension




Expertise
SD

Character
SD

Dynamism
SD

Total
credibil
SD


Male Subjects Female


Older Younger Older


Conservative Dressed Female Targets

34.16 32.74a 32.88b
6.0 5.6 7.0

29.39a 28.39b 26.15ac
7.0 4.0 7.7

18.97 17.87 17.24a
4.7 2.7 5.0


ity 79.97a 79.0 b 74.62c
17.7 9.5 16.9


Casually Dressed Female

Expertise 33.97* 33.04a
SD 6.7 5.7

Character 28.78a 28.74b
SD 5.4 4.4

Dynamism 18.22a 18.48b
SD 4.0 2.8

Total
credibility 77.82a 80.26bd SD 15.8 10.1


Targets 31.98b
5.9

26.41c
7.3

17.80c
4.6


72.49cd 17.6


Subjects


Younger


36. 02ab
4.7

31.08bc
5.5

19.44a
3.5


86.54abc
11.2


36. 19ab*
3.9

31.3 labc
5.3

20.27abc
2.9


87.77abc
9.2


Note: Means along dimensions with common subscripts
significantly differ at R < .05 level, two-tailed
probability.
*Means are different at the R = .057 level.












Dynamism. No significant interaction effects were found among dynamism scores for conservatively dressed male targets. T-tests run between subgroups found that younger females gave significantly higher dynamism scores (M = 20.54) to conservatively dressed male targets than did older females (11 = 18.22), :t(72.3) = 2.33, R = .02. Older males also gave significantly higher dynamism ratings (M = 20.33) than did older females 18.22),

t(69.9) = 2.09, p = .04 (see Table 4-6).

Total credibility. A significant main effect for age was found among total credibility scores of conservatively dressed male targets, F(1, 149) = 10.73, R = .001. Subsequent t-tests revealed that younger females rated these targets significantly higher in credibility (M = 86.54) than did younger males (M = 81.22), t(69)

-1.97, p = .05, older males (11 = 77.49, t(62.1) = -2.81, R < .01, and older females (M = 74.51), :t(73.4) = 4.07, R < .001. Also, younger males (M = 81.22) gave significantly higher ratings than did older females 74.51), :t(63.4) = 2.11, R < .04 (see Table 4-6). In sum, younger female subjects rated conservatively dressed male targets significantly higher in total credibility than did the other three subgroups.












Casually Dressed Male Targets

No significant interaction effects were found for any of the credibility dimensions for casually dressed male targets. Subjects seemed to rate male sources in casual dress similarly on expertise, character, and dynamism. However, a t-test run between older females and younger females revealed that younger females gave significantly higher total credibility scores (M = 85.67) to casually dressed males than did older females (11 = 77.86), :t(67.4) = 2.45, R < .02. Casually dressed male targets seemed to be equally credible to both younger and older men. A summary comparison of mean scores for all three dimensions and total credibility of these targets is found in Table 4-6.

Summary of Research Ouestion Findings

In testing for differences between age groups and sex of subjects, several trends seemed be evident in this experiment. significant interactions between age and sex were found for most of the analyses done on credibility of female target sources. In none of the analyses of both male and female targets' credibility scores did older and younger men differ from each other in their ratings of targets.

Younger females gave significantly higher ratings than did the other groups on all dimensions in separate












analyses of casually and conservatively dressed females, on character and total credibility of conservatively dressed male targets, on all dimensions of female targets in general, and on character and total credibility of male targets in general. older males and females, those in the 35 and over category, generally did not differ significantly in their opinions.

The most recurrent and outstanding pattern of significant differences involving the age and sex variables was found for older and younger females. In almost every comparison of mean dimension scores, younger females gave significantly higher ratings than did older females. This was most notably evident in ratings of women sources dressed casually. Younger females seemed to prefer casually dressed female targets more than the other groups, in that they consistently gave these targets significantly higher ratings of expertise, character, and dynamism. Older females, on the other hand, seemed to like casually dressed female sources less than did younger females.

What may be most interesting is that younger females gave significantly higher ratings than the other three sample subgroups for casually dressed females, female targets in general (regardless of dress), and total credibility of all targets except for casually dressed












Table 4-6
Mean Credibility Dimension scores for Male Targets According to Dress Condition by Sublect Age and Sex



Male Subjects Female Subjects


Dimension Older Younger Older Younger


Conservatively Dressed Male Targets

Expertise 32.51a 33.48 33.23b 35.73ab
SD 6.9 5.0 5.7 5.0

Character 28.39a 27.57b 25.O7ac 30.27bc
SD 6.0 3.2 8.0 5.0

Dynamism 20.33a 20.17 18.22ab 20.54b
SD 3.5 3.1 5.3 3.9

Total
credibility 77.49a 81.22bd 74.5lcd 86.54abc
SD 17.4 9.5 16.3 11.2



Casually Dressed Male Targets

Expertise 34.56 33.3 33.88 35.27
SD 6.0 5.9 6.0 5.3

Character 30.19 28.78 28.0 29.79
SD 7.5 4.0 7.8 5.0

Dynamism 19.57 19.70 19.02 20.60
SD 3.4 3.6 6.2 3.6

Total
credibility 81.77 81.78 77.86a 85.67a
SD 17.3 11.5 18.1 10.9


Note: Means along dimensions with
significantly differ at p <
probability.


common subscripts .05 level, two-tailed











males. It could be concluded that among the subjects, those who were college-aged women tended to give higher ratings to all targets, especially those female targets in casual dress, though these ratings were not significantly higher in all instances.

Do males and females and older and younger people

differ in the way they rate credibility of sources? Based on the results presented above, the answer would be a resounding "yes." While men tended to behave similarly in their rating of target sources, the most prominent findings show that older and younger females differed in the way they rated credibility of differently dressed targets, regardless of target sex or dress condition.

Credibility of Dummy Sources

The final experiment's focus was on male and female target sources who appeared in different modes of dress. Dummy sources, those who appeared in neutral dress, were placed before each target to serve as distractions. In order to provide a thorough examination of the effects that a source's sex and appearance may have on how others rate his or her credibility, several analyses were conducted concerning the dummy sources appearing in the videotape stimulus.

First, Hypothesis One was again tested to see if male and female dummy sources were rated differently in terms












of credibility. The effects of subject age and sex on ratings of these sources were also tested through two-way analyses of variance using the multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA) procedure conducted for male and female dummy sources' expertise, character, dynamism, and total credibility. T-tests again were used to probe differences between cell means.

Male vs. Female Dummv Sources

Composite female dummy scores by sex were obtained by combining both female dummies' credibility scores, and the scores of male dummies. T-tests conducted between male and female dummy means on the three credibility dimensions and total credibility scores uncovered no significant differences. All subjects rated male and female dummy sources similarly on expertise, character, dynamism, and total credibility (see Table 4-7). Female Dummv Sources

Expertise. No significant interaction or main effects were found for subject age or sex for the expertise dimension of female dummy sources. Subsequent t-tests did reveal that scores given by young females to female dummy sources (M = 34.56) were significantly higher than those given by younger males "H = 32-43), t(69) =

-2.01, R < .05, and older females (M = 32.02), t(89) =

2.73, R < .01 (see Table 4-8).












Character. A significant two-way interaction was found between subject age and sex for the character dimension of female dummy sources at the R < .05 level, f(l, 144) = 4.09. Younger females (M = 30.63) gave significantly higher character scores to female dummy sources than did younger males (M = 28.17), t(69) -2.26, p = .03), and older females 26.66), t(58.5) 2.81,

P < .01 (see Table 4-8).

Dynamism. No significant interaction or main effects were found among dynamism scores of female dummy sources. Subsequent t-test probing failed to reveal any differences between subgroups (see Table 4-8).

Total credibility. A significant main effect for subject age was found among total credibility scores of female dummy sources, F(1, 149) = 6.35, R = -01. Younger females (M = 82.44) gave significantly higher total credibility scores to female dummies than did younger males (M = 77.63), :t(69) = -2.02, R < .05, older males (M = 75.32), t(62.4) = -2.46, p < .02, and older females 73.19), t(66.5) = 3-09, R = .003 (see Table 4-8). Male Dummy Sources

Expertise. A significant main effect for age was found on the expertise dimension of male dummy sources, f(l, 149) = 3.77, R = .05. The only two subgroups to differ in their ratings were older and younger females.












Table 4-7
Mean Credibility Dimension Scores for Male and Female Dummy Sources



Dummy Sources


Credibility Dimension Males Females



Expertise 32.887 32.891
SD 5.1 4.9

Character 28.09 28.71
SD 5.2 5.7

Dynamism 17.13 17.44
SD 3.0 3.4

Total Credibility 76.39 77.05
SD 12.5 14.1




Younger females (M = 34.41) rated male dummies significantly higher on expertise than did older females (M = 31.4), 1(89) = 3.05, R = .003 (see Table 4-8).

Character. A two-way analysis of variance revealed

significant interaction effects for subject age and sex on the character dimension of male dummy sources, .E(l, 145) = 8.0, p = .005. Subsequent t-tests revealed differences within age groups (see Table 4-8). older males (M = 28.51) gave significantly higher character ratings to male dummies than did older females (M 25.46), t(76) = 2.17, p = .03. Younger females (M











29.69) gave significantly higher character ratings than did younger males (M = 27.61), t(69) = -1.97, p = .05). Older and younger females differed in their opinions of male dummy sources. Younger females (LI = 29.69) gave significantly higher character ratings to male dummies than did older females (M = 25.46), t(87), = 3.85, R < .001 (see Table 4-8).

Dynamism. No significant interaction or main effects were found for dynamism of male dummies. No significant differences between subgroups were revealed by subsequent t-tests.

Total credibility. A two-way interaction between

subject age and sex on total credibility of male dummies was found at the R < .05 level, F(1, 149) = 4.04. Younger females (M = 81.28) gave significantly higher total credibility scores to male dummies than did older females (M = 71.31), t(89) = 4.3, R < .001. Older females (M = 71.31) gave significantly lower ratings to male dummies than did younger males (M = 77.57), t(64.0) = 2.56, R = .01 (see Table 4-8). In short, older females rated male dummies significantly lower in overall credibility than did younger people of both sexes. Summary of Dummy Source Findings

Results for these sources generally reflected those found for target sources. The credibility ratings given









79

by the total sample to the two male dummy sources combined did not significantly differ from the ratings given to the two female dummy sources combined. In terms of Hypothesis One, then, male dummies were not rated significantly higher in credibility than were female dummies.

Patterns of significant differences between sample

subgroups based on age and sex were similar to those found among ratings of target sources. Significant differences between mean credibility scores given by younger and older females were found for expertise, character, and total credibility of female dummies.

Younger and older females also differed in their

ratings of male dummies' expertise, character, and total credibility. Ratings of male and female dummy source dynamism given by older and younger females were not significantly different.

Several instances of differences between younger

females and younger males were also found for ratings of female target sources, and on character scores of male dummies. When compared to both older females and younger males, younger females gave significantly higher scores. Indeed, across all analyses of dummy sources younger females tended to give the highest ratings.

It should also be noted that while older and younger males did not differ in their ratings of male and female











target sources, the same was true for their ratings of male and female dummy sources. No significant differences in ratings given by older and younger male subjects were revealed in any of the analyses involving the sources appearing in the videotape stimulus.

Additional Analyses

Because the two groups which comprised the final

experimental sample came from different sources, one being composed mainly of college students, the other of adults having different education levels, there was a concern that education level may have been a confounding factor in the interactions found between subject subgroups. To investigate the effect of education level of subjects on their ratings of target sources, one-way analysis of variance tests were conducted among both male and female subjects in the civic organization sample (11 = 89) for targets in different dress conditions based on education levels. This was basically a repetition of the research question analyses, with education level substituted for age and sex.

Four levels of education were created from the six possible responses on the questionnaire: (1) completion of high school, (2) completion of some college and vocational or trade school, (3) completion of a bachelor's degree, and (4) formal education beyond college or












Table 4-8
Mean Credibility Dimension Scores for Male and Female Dummy Sources by Subject Age and Sex



Male Subjects Female Subjects


Dimension Older Younger Older Younger


Male Dummy Sources

Expertise 32.80 33.04 31.40a 34.41a
SD 5.9 4.4 5.3 4.1

Character 28.51a 27.61b 25.46ac 29.69bc
SD 6.5 3.4 5.9 4.5

Dynamism 17.58 16.91 16.61 17.27
SD 3.0 2.4 3.7 2.6

Total
credibility 75.71 77.57a 71.3lab 81.28b
SD 15.8 6.9 12.9 9.0



Female Dummy Sources

Expertise 32.65 32.44a 32.02b 34.56ab
SD 5.5 4.2 4.7 4.2

Character 28.31 28.17a 26.66b 30.63ab
SD 6.1 4.0 7.9 4.4

Dynamism 17.61 17.02 17.13 17.48
SD 3.3 2.4 4.2 3.5

Total
credibility 75.32a 77.63b 73.19c 82.44abc
SD 15.6 7.6 17.2 10.1



Note: Means along dimensions with common subscripts
significantly differ at p < .05 level, two-tailed
probability.











completion of a graduate degree. One-way analyses of variance comparing subjects in the four education levels, regardless of age group or sex revealed no significant differences in the way they rated target sources. Thus, it was concluded that education level was probably not the main source of variance among older and younger subjects in the combined sample of 165 subjects.

The relationship between younger and older female

subjects borne out by the recurring pattern of significant differences between these groups posed some concern to the researcher. Why did younger females consistently give significantly higher ratings to target sources than did older females? And why did these two groups differ so much in their opinions of sources while older and younger males did not significantly differ at all? To try and answer these questions, additional analyses concerning the women in the civic organization sample were conducted. It was thought that since most of the younger women subjects were from the college-student sample, perhaps the mere fact that more younger female subjects were in college could account for the findings.

To see if younger and older women from the civic organization sample also differed in their ratings of target sources, women from the Orlando sample were put into two categories: younger (18-44) and older (45 and












over). The younger category was extended to included those women aged 35 to 44 because so few women were between the ages of 18 and 34 (n = 8). There were only 10 women between 18 and 44, while 35 were 45 years old or older. T-tests were run between the two age groups to see if younger women from this sample differed from older women on the same dependent variables based on target sex and dress condition used in answering the research questions.

No significant differences were revealed between scores given by younger women and those given by older women, except on the character dimension of conservatively dressed males. The older women in the Orlando sample gave significantly lower ratings of character to conservatively dressed male sources (M = 23.73) than did the younger women (M = 27.0), t(40.6) = 2.12, R = .04. However, scores given by older women, those 45 and older, were lower than those given by women in the 18-44 age group for 23 of the 32 comparisons made. Though these differences were not significant, they did not contradict the trend found in the results which showed younger females giving higher ratings than did older females.















CHAPTER 6
DISCUSSION


This study investigated the relationship between

variations of a communicator's appearance and perceptions of his or her credibility, and how a message receiver's age and sex may affect those perceptions. This was done by creating videotaped interviews in which male and female sources, posing as college professors, appeared in casual and conservative modes of dress. After viewing these sources, subjects were asked to rate their credibility in terms of expertise, character, and dynamism.

General Implications

Male target sources were predicted to receive

significantly higher ratings of credibility than female target sources. This prediction was not wholly supported by the findings: Males were not rated significantly higher in expertise, character, or total credibility than were females, but males were rated significantly more dynamic than females.

One explanation for this finding is that the female sources were less dynamic in their performances than the men. Specifically, one of the female targets was rated significantly lower in dynamism than both male targets, 84











regardless of dress condition. The same target was also rated significantly lower in dynamism than her female counterpart when both were dressed conservatively. This illustrates a potential disadvantage of using nonprofessional actors in an experimental stimulus.

Overall, however, the female target sources were considered to be less dynamic than the male target sources. Dynamism, as measured in this study, included characteristics such as aggressiveness and boldness-traits which have traditionally been regarded as more appropriate for men than for women (Richardson, 1988). This general societal expectation for men to be more aggressive and bold may have influenced the way subjects rated the sexes on this dimension. That is, subjects may have expected the male sources to be higher in dynamism than the female sources and rated them as such, thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Researchers of future studies could further explore this aspect of sex differences in source perception.

While the performances by the female targets in this study were rated less dynamic than those given by the men, of more importance concerning the societal implications of the findings for Hypothesis One is that both sexes were considered by subjects to be equal in expertise and character. Previous research has demonstrated that









86

competent women are more likely to be devalued in serious, realistic contexts and when evaluations of them are salient to raters, such as in hiring situations (Lott, 1985). In this study, subjects watched a television program and rated the people they saw; there were no interpersonal contacts with the actors and no real consequences to the subjects as a result of their ratings. Hence, it may have been that women sources were not rated as being different in credibility than were men because there were no serious consequences for the subjects.

Another possible explanation for the lack of

differences between male and female sources is social desirability. The people in this study may have wanted to rate the male and female sources equally because they did not want to appear sexist. An awareness of "politically correct" attitudes toward women may have influenced some people's opinions, especially those in college. In addition, the fact that the researcher was a woman may have sensitized the subjects enough for them to rate both sexes equally.

While these explanations are all plausible, what the results may truly imply is that the stereotype of women as being less competent than men is changing. In this study, equal credentials yielded equal evaluations; the women professors and men professors were rated the same in terms









87

of their expertise and character. What is most telling is that women were thought to be just as intelligent, bright, informed, trained, competent, and expert as men.

The general societal bias against women which was the basis for the first hypothesis did not appear here. Neither did the expectation that differences in the clothing of female sources would lead to differences in their credibility. It was predicted that when female sources were dressed in casual clothing (a knit top and slacks) rather than in conservative clothing (a suit and blouse), they would be rated significantly lower in credibility.

This was not supported by the findings: Women were rated equally credible whether dressed casually or ' conservatively. The "wardrobe engineering" as propagated in books which provide women with fashion advice as to what they should wear in order to be successful is called into question by the results of this study. Molloy (1977) asserts that, among other types of clothes, "sweaters, slacks, skirt and blouse outfits . all announce that you have no ambition" (p. 125). The "dress for success" look, conservative suits and accessories such as collars that tie, which was prescribed to womenwho wanted to look ambitious and competent, did not significantly enhance subjects' ratings of women in this experiment.












The importance of appearance as a factor of source credibility was also predicted to be more salient to female sources than to male sources. It was hypothesized that differences in ratings of expertise, character, and dynamism between dress conditions of women would be larger than those of men. This was not borne out by the results. In fact, for the character dimension, men were rated higher in character when they wore casual clothing (a shirt and jeans) than when they wore conservative clothing (a suit and tie).

Upon closer examination, this difference in character ratings was found to occur mainly among the older people in the study. This anti-suit-and-tie attitude on the part of older subjects, those 35 and older, may have been a function of the topic presented--marine biology--and of the identification of the experts as being professors of zoology. Perhaps older people had a stereotype of college professors who studied marine biology. It may be that they trusted sources who better fit the image of an expert in marine biology--someone who dressed as if he actually worked with marine animals or out of doors. A suit and tie may not have fit that image, and subsequently male targets dressed that way may not have been rated higher on character.











Another possible explanation for this is that the

business suit, at least for men, carries with it certain connotations, such as authority and bureaucracy. The suit and tie is the acceptable form of dress for professions involving politics, government, banking, and the like. On the other hand, casual clothes such as blue jeans do not imply such meanings. At least for the older people in this study, men dressed in jeans seemed more honest, trustworthy, sympathetic, and virtuous--all indications of higher character--than those dressed in suits. This implies a negative stereotype of the business suit for men, at least in terms of the character of the wearer. Future studies into the meanings associated with such clothing would provide information concerning reasons for the distrust of suits implied by these results.

The findings for the hypotheses show that at least for experts who are college professors of zoology, dress does not greatly affect the credibility of sources who are both seen and heard. The context within which the stimulus interviews were conducted may be related to practices used in television news programming. The sources were seen on television and were identified as being professors of zoology by a graphic. News coverage by television reporters often includes soundbites, or interviews, with people who are deemed experts on the











particular topic of a story. Often, these experts are interviewed at their place of work. College professors, scientists, and other similar experts may appear in such interviews in their everyday work clothes--and this often does not include formal attire. Subjects may have expected the experts who appeared in the interviews to wear clothes they would wear to work. With the exception of the differences in character ratings for differently dressed men, it may be that the experts in this study were so fluent in their presentations that their dress was not distracting. That is, the subjects focused more on what the experts were saying than on what the experts were wearing. Therefore, the effects of different dress styles were not as great as predicted, especially for women sources.

Several noteworthy trends were found regarding the influence of subjects' age and sex on their ratings of sources. Female subjects between the ages of 18 and 34 tended to give high credibility ratings to all targets, regardless of targets' sex or appearance. Younger females differed from younger males in many of their ratings of sources, with younger females giving significantly higher ratings. This supports previous research which showed that college-age women tended to give more generous












ratings of expertise, character, and dynamism to others than did college-age men (Carocci, 1988).

Significant differences between subjects were most

pronounced for total credibility scores of female targets, and for casually dressed females in particular. Younger females seemed to like and gave significantly higher ratings to women dressed casually than did older females and older and younger males. This may be an indication of a pro-female bias on the part of younger women, in that they may be more favorable to professional women and may even consider them to be role models. Richardson (1988) asserts that there is a lack of female professors to serve as role models for women in college. It may be, too, that college women have higher regard for women professors and identify more with them than do college men.

In contrast to younger women, older women tended to give the lowest credibility ratings. This trend was especially pronounced among ratings given by older females to female targets. Perhaps the older women--away from a campus atmosphere--were less concerned about appearing sexist or "politically correct" than were the younger women who might have been exposed to such concerns regularly on campus.

The finding that older females gave low ratings to casually dressed females compared to younger females




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81,9(56,7< 2) )/25,'$ LQ LQ LQ PX LQ}


EFFECTS OF SEX AND APPEARANCE
ON RATINGS OF SOURCE CREDIBILITY
By
ERIKA ENGSTROM
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AUGUST 1991

For my parents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Many, many people helped me with this paper. I
sincerely thank each of them for giving me their time and
encouragement. First, I thank everyone who helped with
the production of the videotape used in this study. They
are: Drs. Julie Dodd, Paul Smeyak, John Wright, Kim
Walsh-Childers, Michael Weigold and Sherry Alexander;
fellow grad students and colleagues Matthew Power, Jane
Tolbert, Matthew Bunker, Darci Sirianni, Lisa Barr, and
Clay Conway; WUFT-TV production manager Frank Counts; and
WUFT-TV news director Rick Schneider, who so graciously
endured countless hours of taping and retakes.
I could not have conducted this study without the
following people: Ed Gilliland, Marge Pierce, Susan
Brown, Dr. Greg Neimeyer, Mark Mahon, Sunil Hewavitharana,
and my brother Bruce Engstrom, who all helped in one way
or another with the administration of the experiment; and
Simon DeYoung and Blake Milstead, who loaned me their
brand new video equipment without requiring collateral or
reimbursement other than St. Louis mineral water. I
especially thank my fellow doctoral inmate Barry
Hollander, who helped roe practically every step of the
iii

way, not only with the experiment itself, but also with
the statistical analyses of the results.
I thank my committee members for their suggestions,
advice, and open doors: Drs. Leonard Tipton, John Wright,
Constance Shehan, and Jaber Gubrium.
Special thanks go to Dr. Julie Dodd, whose
understanding and support in so many ways throughout the
writing of this paper I appreciate with all my heart.
Very special thanks go to my committee chairperson,
Dr. Mickie N. Edwardson, for all the time, patience, and
wisdom she has so generously given me. She is, quite
simply, the best.
Finally, I thank my stockholders, Alex and Margaret
Engstrom. I hope I can make good on their investment.
iv

TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iii
LIST OF TABLES vii
ABSTRACT viii
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION 1
2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE 5
Nonverbal Aspects of Source Credibility ... 5
Appearance and Social Judgments 9
Appearance and Occupational Stereotypes ... 16
3 HYPOTHESES AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS 21
Hypotheses 21
Research Questions 24
4 METHOD 28
Subjects 28
Design 28
Materials 31
Procedure 34
Pretest 1: Topic Interest 34
Pretest 2: Topic Similarity 35
Pretest 3: Dress Conditions 37
Final Experiment 40
Instrument Validity and Reliability 41
Factor Analysis 42
Reliability 44
Analysis 45
5 RESULTS 50
Description of Subjects 50
Results for Hypotheses 52
Hypothesis One 52
Hypothesis Two 54
v

Hypothesis Three 55
Summary of Hypothesis Findings 58
Results for Research Questions 59
Male Targets, Regardless of Dress 59
Female Targets, Regardless of Dress. ... 61
Conservatively Dressed Female Targets. . . 63
Casually Dressed Female Targets 66
Conservatively Dressed Male Targets. ... 68
Casually Dressed Male Targets 71
Summary of Research Question Findings .... 71
Credibility of Dummy Sources 74
Male vs. Female Dummy Sources 75
Female Dummy Sources 75
Male Dummy Sources 76
Summary of Dummy Source Findings 78
Additional Analyses 80
6 DISCUSSION 84
General Implications 85
Limitations and Considerations 93
Internal Validity 94
External Validity 95
Suggestions for Further Research.' 96
APPENDICES
A QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PRETEST 1: TOPIC INTEREST . 101
B QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PRETEST 2: TARGET SIMILARITY 118
C QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PRETEST 3: DRESS CONDITIONS 126
D QUESTIONNAIRE FOR FINAL EXPERIMENT 132
E DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION 141
REFERENCES 142
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 148
VI

LIST OF TABLES
page
Table 3-1. Order of Sources in Experimental
Conditions 32
Table 3-2. Example of Three-Factor Solution
of Credibility Variables 46
Table 3-3. Example of Four-Factor Solution
of Credibility Variables 47
Table 4-1. Mean Credibility Dimension Scores
for Male and Female Targets, Regardless of
Dress Condition 55
Table 4-2. Mean Difference Scores for Conservative
and Casual Dress Conditions of Male and Female
Target Sources 56
Table 4-3. Mean Credibility Dimension Scores
for Male and Female Targets by Dress Condition . 58
Table 4-4. Mean Credibility Dimension Scores
for Male and Female Targets Regardless of
Dress Condition by Subject Age and Sex 64
Table 4-5. Mean Credibility Dimension Scores
for Female Targets According to Dress Condition
by Subject Age and Sex 69
Table 4-6. Mean Credibility Dimension Scores
for Male Targets According to Dress Condition
by Subject Age and Sex 73
Table 4-7. Mean Credibility Dimension Scores
for Male and Female Dummy Sources 77
Table 4-8. Mean Credibility Dimension Scores
for Male and Female Dummy Sources by Subject Age
and Sex 81
vii

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
EFFECTS OF SEX AND APPEARANCE
ON RATINGS OF SOURCE CREDIBILITY
By
Erika Engstrom
August 1991
Chairperson: Dr. Mickie N. Edwardson
Major Department: Journalism and Communications
This study focused on the effects that a person's sex
and appearance have on ratings of his or her credibility.
Specifically, it is an examination of differences in
ratings of expertise, character, and dynamism of male and
female sources who appeared as experts in simulated
television interviews, and whether variations in clothing
affect perceptions of credibility of males and females
differently.
A stimulus videotape was created in which male and
female actors posing as college professors appeared in
three modes of dress: conservative, casual, and neutral.
Subjects drawn from a sample of college students and from
a civic organization comprised mostly of adults over age
35 viewed the interviews and rated the sources according
to characteristics which measured source expertise,
character, and dynamism.
viii

Contrary to expectations, no significant differences
were found between expertise and character ratings of male
and female sources. However, male sources were rated as
more dynamic. Credibility ratings of female sources were
expected to be significantly lower when they were dressed
casually than when dressed conservatively. No significant
differences in ratings between the two dress conditions
for females were found. It was also predicted that
subjects would perceive smaller differences in credibility
between male sources dressed casually and conservatively
than between females sources dressed casually and
conservatively. This was not supported. Results showed
that male sources dressed conservatively were regarded as
lower in character than when dressed casually.
Subject variables of age and sex were also
investigated in terms of their influence on source
ratings. Younger female subjects tended to give both male
and female sources higher credibility ratings than did
younger males, older males, and older females. Older
females tended to give the lowest credibility ratings to
all sources. Most significant differences among subjects
were found between older and younger women. Older men and
younger men did not significantly differ in their ratings
of sources.
ix

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
The importance of one's appearance in the
establishment of one's identity and credibility as a
source of information can be traced to ancient Greece.
The concept of ethos. the totality of characteristic
traits of a speaker, includes not only those aspects of
contemporary concepts of credibility, such as competence
and character, but also physical appearance (Aristotle,
1932) .
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the link
between perceptions of a person's competence in terms of
his or her qualifications as an expert source and that
person's appearance. Specifically, the study will focus
on the effects that variations of a communicator's
appearance have on evaluative opinions by an audience.
The present study is an attempt to explore the subject of
credibility in terms of how different people, in terms of
age and sex, view men and women who are presented as
''experts.'' Such sources often appear as guests or news
sources on television programming, such as network news
programs and magazine talk shows. Often, panels of
experts may appear on these programs. Experts of this
1

2
type come from a variety of backgrounds, especially the
professions. A common type of expert is the college
professor, whose specialty is studying the particular
issue at hand. Also, attorneys, medical personnel, such
as medical doctors and psychologists, and government
spokespersons, may appear. These sources may serve as
stereotypes for their professions. It is the intent of
this study to examine the extent to which variations in
the appearance of such sources, both male and female, may
result in different evaluations of the perceived expertise
of these types of sources.
Of particular interest will be how gender of an
expert source is related to different evaluative opinions
by perceivers.1 Gender and credibility have been studied
in terms of societal perceptions of women's competence as
professionals (Lott, 1985) and trust between the genders,
both interpersonal and in general (Carocci, 1988).
Lott (1985) reviewed gender studies in which
comparisons of how people evaluated male and female target
persons on a variety of personal traits, including
competence, were investigated. In general, studies
examining such gender differences support the notion that
there is a tendency to devalue competent women, even in
situations in which both men and women targets perform
egually well on a given task. Thus, she concluded, equal

3
performance by men and women does not necessarily yield
equal evaluations.
Carocci's (1988) study of subjects' trust of same-sex
and opposite-sex members as friends and as people in
general found that, overall, women's ratings of both male
and female others' expertness, character, and dynamism—
all components of credibility—were higher than men's
ratings. Also, men rated other men as higher in
expertness than they rated other females, while, contrary
to her expectations, women did not rate other women as
significantly higher in expertness than other men.
Attitude objects in that study were either subjects'
"close" friends (male or female) or males and females "in
general" (p. 73). This may indicate that females, at
least in Carocci's sample, viewed men and women as equally
competent, while males may still be biased against women
in terms of their competence.
It is hoped that this investigation of the
interrelationship between gender and appearance of a
source and the gender of the receivers of that source's
message will lead to a better understanding of appearance
as a component of communicator credibility. The
Aristotelian concept of credibility, ethos. is composed of
a speaker's good sense, good moral character, and good
will. According to this concept, good will includes those

4
characteristics about a speaker which do not have to do
with his morals but nevertheless win approval from
observers. Among these traits is appearance: a speaker
who is "clean and neat in person" and in dress will
enhance the good will others may see in him (Aristotle,
1932, p. 104). This study is intended to provide
empirical evidence for the influence appearance may have
on an audience's regard for a communicator.
Note
^•As Unger (1979) points out, the term "sex" implies
biological mechanisms, such as chromosomes, genes,
hormones, and other physical characteristics which serve
as the foundation for social distinctions between males
and females. The term "gender," on the other hand, is
more concerned with the nonphysical, sociocultural
characteristics and behaviors which are considered
appropriate for males and females, such as those which
denote masculinity and femininity. While the researcher
recognizes the different meanings implied by both terms,
"sex" and "gender" will be used interchangeably in this
paper to refer to the obvious physical distinctions
between men and women rather than behavioral traits. The
sex of sources and subjects will be used as the basis for
the independent experimental and subject variables in this
study.

CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
The present investigation draws upon several
theoretical perspectives, including source credibility,
nonverbal communication, the symbolic interaction theory
of communication, the social cognition of stereotypes, and
the sociology of gender differences. The following is a
review of relevant findings which provide the bases for
the main research question posed: How does the perceived
credibility of male and female experts differ as a
function of differences in the appearance of such sources,
and to what extent do differences in receivers' age and
sex affect their ratings of those experts?
Nonverbal Aspects of Source Credibility
One of the most well-documented and widely accepted
generalizations in persuasion research is that the
credibility of a source influences the effectiveness of
persuasive messages (Miller, 1987). Early studies of
credibility involved experiments in which print messages
were used. Manipulation focused mainly on the pre-
established trustworthiness (defined as credibility) of
familiar or fictional organizational and individual
sources and how it affected intended attitude change
5

6
(Hovland & Weiss, 1951). In the time since then, two of
the main areas of research into the processes and elements
associated with the construct of source credibility have
been the isolation of the dimensions of a source's
perceived credibility and how manipulation of certain non-
and paraverbal source characteristics, such as speaking
style and appearance, affect an audience's perceptions of
those dimensions.
Two broad dimensions which emerge consistently from
factor-analytic research of source credibility are the
concepts of "competence," that is, a speaker's perceived
expertise and regard as an authority on a particular
subject, and "trustworthiness" (or "character"), that
component which embodies a source's personal integrity and
likelihood of telling the truth about a subject (O'Keefe,
1990; McCroskey & Young, 1981). Other dimensions which
have been found to comprise overall credibility are
dynamism, that is, a speaker's assertiveness or energy
(Berio, Lemert, & Mertz, 1969), and his or her sociability
or friendliness (Miller, 1987).
Of more importance to the present study, however, is
the other approach—studying credibility formation: the
"process by which communicators use symbolic inducements
to persuade others to perceive them more positively"
(Miller, 1987, p. 467). The purpose for this line of

7
research is to discover which characteristics about a
source and/or his or her message can be manipulated so as
to affect how a person regards that source in terms of
various credibility dimensions. These characteristics
include information about the source (such as education
level and experience), liking for the source (including
similarity), position advocated by the source, use of
humor in the message, citation of evidence, and topic
sequencing (O'Keefe, 1990; Miller, 1987).
A more global construct with which to study how
characteristics of a source may influence perceptions of
credibility is that of communicator style. Included in
this area of research are paraverbal elements such as
speaking rate, articulation, and speech errors or
nonfluencies. In general, studies of this type have found
that faulty articulation and nonfluent speech tend to
result in lower ratings of credibility, especially on
dimensions such as competence and dynamism (Addington,
1971; Burgoon, 1978; Miller & Hewgill, 1964; Sereno &
Hawkins, 1967). Less consistent findings have been found
concerning the effects of speaking rate on perceptions of
sources (Burgoon, 1978; Miller, Maruyama, Beaber, &
Valone, 1976; Bowers, 1978).
Nonverbal characteristics of sources have been found
to be related to how people regard sources in terms of

8
various credibility dimensions. Studies of this type
typically compare ratings of sources who are judged to be
physically attractive in terms of facial features with
those of sources judged to be less physically attractive.
Generally, it has been found that physically attractive
communicators receive higher ratings of likability than
less attractive communicators (Joseph, 1982; Patzer, 1983)
and rate higher on expertise and trustworthiness (Patzer,
1983) .
While the relationship between somatic features such
as facial appearance and perceived credibility has been
for the most part supported (O'Keefe, 1990; Joseph, 1982),
other physical attributes of a person also may play a role
in how he or she is viewed by others. Perhaps the most
obvious of these is clothing. One's personal artifacts,
such as clothing and insignia, contribute to perceptions
of social power (Emmert & Donaghy, 1981). Malandro and
Barker (1983) acknowledge the importance of clothing as a
nonverbal cue to impression formation by pointing out that
the extent to which we consider another person to be
credible may be in part revealed by his or her clothing.
Experimental evidence supporting the notion that
clothing can serve as a cue to perceptions of credibility
is provided by Harp, Harp, and Stretch's (1985) study
which investigated how ratings of credibility of a

9
television anchorwoman were affected by the different
styles of clothing she wore. Credibility ratings, as
determined by the sum of scores of seven characteristics,
including competence, honesty, and viewer preference, were
higher when the anchorwoman was dressed in a conservative,
professional manner (suit jacket and blouse) than when
dressed in a simple dress. The authors concluded that
their results support prior research findings that dress
and appearance are important to newscaster success in
terms of credibility, and that people do have perceptions
of what type of clothing is suitable work apparel.
Appearance and Social Judgments
Appearance often is the most basic perceptual cue
available in order for us to determine the status of
another person. The symbolism which clothing provides
acts as a cue which can be used to classify a person
according to his or her character, occupation, or other
traits. The importance of physical appearance and
clothing is acknowledged in symbolic interaction theory.
Goffman (1959), in his dramaturgical analysis of everyday
social interaction, emphasized the nonverbal communication
accomplished through our "personal front"—that part of us
which we present to society. Personal fronts include all
aspects of our physical selves, including the clothing we
wear. Our appearance, then, may be taken to refer to

10
those stimuli which function to tell us of a performer's
social status. Indeed, status symbols such as clothing
are the specialized means of displaying one's position or
role in societal exchange (Goffman, 1951). Insignia on
uniforms and certain standard modes of dress, such as the
business suit and tie, are automatically used to infer who
a person is and his or her rank in an organization or in
society in general.
The importance of nonverbal symbolism has been
reiterated by several theorists who have recognized the
effectiveness of appearance as a medium for social
meaning. Stone (1962) recognized the lack of attention
given to this dimension of communication. Appearance
establishes the identification of persons and facilitates
or hinders interaction. Indeed, asserted Stone,
"appearance means identification of one another" (p. 91).
The neglect of empirical study of clothing and
artifactual symbolism is pointed out by Davis (1982), who
explored the lack of attention given to the "vast realm of
human communication lying beyond the essentially
denotative sphere of spoken and written language" (p.
116). Despite this discursive bias evident in the
symbolic interactionist perspective, "we know that through
clothing people communicate some things about their
persons and at the collective level this results typically

11
in locating them symbolically in some structured universe
of status claims and lifestyle attachments" (Davis, 1985,
p. 16).
The extent to which the symbolic can be subjected to
systematic and sustained analysis has been underestimated
in the symbolic interactionist perspective. Indeed, a
proliferation of empirical studies supports several major
conclusions which can be made about clothing, dress, and
appearance, and how they influence social judgments.
In general, research of this type is concerned with the
impressions made of strangers on the basis of their
appearance. The majority of these types of studies, based
in a theory of social perception which assumes that
clothing acts as a nonverbal cue in communicating
information, has demonstrated that clothing does affect
the social impressions made of stimulus persons (Davis &
Lennon, 1988).
A good many of these studies have originated from a
more practical perspective; their main focus has been on
clothing, in terms of the impact dress style, color, and
form have on perceptions of personality traits, social
status, or attractiveness assigned by subjects to stimulus
persons depicted in drawings, photographs, or in person
(Hoult, 1954; Compton, 1962; Rosencranz, 1962; Douty,
1963; Taylor & Compton, 1968; Hamid, 1972; DeLong, 1978;

12
Pinaire-Reed, 1979; Harris et al., 1983; Fiore & DeLong,
1984, Sweat & Zentner, 1985; Francis & Evans, 1987; Hewitt
& German, 1987).
Reactions to different modes of dress have also been
measured by subject behavior toward a stimulus person.
When approached to sign a petition, subjects were more
likely to comply with a request made by a similarly
dressed other (Bryant, 1975) or a stimulus person dressed
neatly than by one dressed in an untidy manner (Lambert,
1972). In the latter study, it was found that for all
subjects, compliance was higher for a "smartly dressed"
female experimenter posing as a market researcher.
Compliance rates were significantly higher among older
subjects than among younger ones. Lambert (1972)
concluded that this suggests older people have more
conventional attitudes toward appearance.
Gender differences have been the focus of several
clothing and behavior studies. Rosenwasser, Adams, and
Tansil (1983) compared the amount of time males and
females looked at slides of differently dressed male and
female stimulus persons. The researchers' premise was
that in American society, physical appearance has been
more important for and to women than men. Stimulus
persons appeared either fully clothed or in bathing suits.
It was found that male subjects looked significantly

13
longer at clothed women than at women in bathing suits.
Female subjects behaved similarly. Though their sample
was small, the authors suggest that while men's reactions
can be explained as a function of their interest in the
opposite sex, women's interest in other women's clothing
may provide some evidence for the notion that women are
interested in other women's clothing and artifacts, such
as jewelry.
Gender differences and clothing styles were studied
by Stead and Zinkhan (1986) in their investigation of
salespeople's reactions to similarly dressed males and
females. Male and female confederates were both dressed
in business or casual attire and arrived at a checkout
counter in a department store simultaneously. It was
found that men received service from both male and female
salesclerks sooner than did women. Both male and female
stimulus persons received service more promptly when
dressed in business attire (suit and jacket) than in
casual attire (jeans and shirt). This difference was more
pronounced for male "customers.”
Recently, the importance of appearance, especially
for professional women, has been recognized by researchers
examining appearance and its relationship to judgments of
job-skill ratings and competence in the workplace. The
effect of colors and layering (wearing of a suit jacket)

14
on perceptions of a person's capabilities in the business
world was examined by Scherbaum and Shepherd (1987).
Subjects were master of business administration students
who viewed drawings of male and female stimulus persons
dressed in blue or red business suits with or without
jackets. Highest ratings of self-assuredness, likelihood
of success, and appropriateness of attire were given to
male and female targets who wore blue suits with jackets.
Differences between dress conditions were especially
pronounced for male targets, while differences between
attire conditions for female targets were less varied.
The authors concluded that their findings suggest attire
may be more important for men in the business world, and
deviance from the standard business suit may not be as
tolerated for men as for women. Women may have less
stringent restrictions on what is proper or improper
business attire, but the authors admit their findings may
have been a function of social desirability on the part of
subjects in that they may not have wanted to appear as
discriminating against females based on their appearance.
The effect of grooming style on hiring decisions was
studied by Cash (1985) in an experiment in which corporate
personnel served as subjects. Female stimulus persons'
appearance was operationalized as being "managerial" or
"nonmanagerial." Managerial appearance consisted of a

tailored suit, little jewelry, and short, simple
hairstyles which were away from the face and lacked
adornment. Nonmanagerial appearance included more
'•feminine" clothing, dangling earrings, and hairstyles
which were long, concealed the face or appeared to require
considerable maintenance, and were adorned with ribbons or
barrettes. Subjects were asked to make hiring evaluations
based on targets' photos as well as interview evaluations
and resumes. Male subjects were found to rate targets
with managerial appearance more favorably, while female
subjects' evaluations were dependent upon geographic
region. Subjects from New York rated managerial and
nonmanagerial styles similarly, while in Chicago the
nonmanagerial style was actually preferred. Managerial
appearance was rated more favorably than nonmanagerial
appearance by female subjects in Texas. Overall, both
male and female subjects recommended higher salaries for
targets in the managerial appearance condition and rated
t
managerial appearance as more likable.
The authors concluded that the managerial style of
grooming conveyed a more credible and effective corporate
image. Again, according to the authors, social
desirability may have played a role in some of the female
subjects' ratings; they may have rated target women

16
similarly because they may not have wanted to appear to
discriminate on the basis of appearance.
rhysical appearance, in terms cf dress and grooming,
then, has been shown to influence social judgments not
only in terms of attribution of personality traits, but
also of behavior toward stimulus persons. Studies of this
latter type have also found differences in the way males
and females behave toward target persons (Rosenwasser,
Adams, & Tansil, 1983; Cash, 1985; Stead & Zinkhan, 1986;
Scherbaum & Shepherd, 1987).
Appearance and Occupational Stereotypes
A review of stereotype research reveals a number of
findings and general conclusions concerning the role
physical appearance plays in the formation of social
categories. These studies have dealt mainly with somatic
or facial features. The greatest amount of research has
been conducted to verify the existence of a physical
attractiveness stereotype and how perceptions of
attractiveness influence social judgments, expectations,
and interaction (Dion,’Berscheid, & Walster, 1972; Derner
& Thiel, 1975; Bar-Tal & Saxe, 1976; Adams, 1977; Chaiken,
1986; Dion, 1986).
Though most research of stereotypes has concentrated
on specific traits associated with stereotype categories,
the popular conception of stereotypes, especially thoáe

17
involving gender, includes more than just personality
traits. It also includes physical appearance, role
behaviors, and occupations (Ashmore & Del Boca, 1979;
Deaux, 1984). Deaux and Lewis (1984) investigated the
saliency of physical descriptors as a major component of
gender stereotypes. This type of information described
features such as "tall, strong, sturdy, and broad-
shouldered" as "masculine" physical qualities, while "soft
voice, dainty, graceful, and soft" were "feminine"
qualities. They found evidence that once information
about physical appearance was provided, subjects seemed to
rely heavily on it to make inferences about other aspects.
Deaux and Lewis concluded their study by calling for
further research investigating the extent to which people
hold stereotypes in terms of appearance, adding, "it is
surprising that investigators have given so little thought
to this aspect of gender stereotypes" (p. 1003).
Physical appearance as a component of stereotypes was
the focus of Freeman's (1987) study of gender stereotype
structure. Subjects were asked to rate stimulus persons,
based on written descriptions, on their masculine and
feminine traits and behaviors. It was found that when
stimulus females were described as unattractive, they were
more likely to be rated as engaging in traditional
feminine behaviors (such as housework), and less likely to

18
possess "desired" masculine traits (such as independence)
than females described as being of high or medium
attractiveness. The results "indicate an unfavorable
image of the woman who is unattractive" (p. 66).
Furthermore, concluded the author, physical appearance
served as the most potent source of stereotyping compared
to other information provided about the target persons.
As far as professional image is concerned, there
seems to be a kind of "professional" stereotype, in that
business attire and professional-type grooming seem to
reflect societal norms of what is appropriate for certain
types of occupations. Studies have been done concerning
the appearance of persons in certain occupations and the
importance that physical appearance may have in terms of
prediction of success. For example, Croxton, Van
Rensselaer, Dutton, & Ellis (1989), in their study of
gender-typing of occupations, found that subjects
considered physical attractiveness an important predictor
of success for two occupations: "mayor" and "TV
newsperson." Several studies concerning the appearance of
television newscasters have found that viewers do have
preferences concerning how an anchorman should "look"
(Sanders & Pritchett, 1971), and that the apparel of a
television newswoman does influence her perceived
credibility, in that a conservative dress style which

19
included suit and jacket resulted in higher ratings of
credibility than a simple dress (Harp et al., 1985).
Because of the entertainment aspects of the television
news industry, it is not surprising that appearance plays
an important role in images of professionalism for
television news anchors, and female anchors in particular.
Indeed, this overemphasis on physical appearance has been
cited as a barrier to equal employment opportunities for
women in broadcasting (Ferri & Keller, 1985).
Mode of dress as a component of gender stereotyping
of occupations was examined by Davis (1982). Subjects
viewed slides of males and females dressed in "masculine"
or "feminine" styles, as determined by pretests. The
"masculine" dress for males consisted of a gray, tailored
three-piece suit, white shirt, striped tie, and briefcase.
The "feminine" dress for males consisted of pleated
slacks, a pastel cotton sweater, mesh shoes, and a gold
hoop earring. The "masculine" dress for females consisted
of a navy skirted suit, white blouse, tie, and briefcase,
while the "feminine" dress consisted of a pink cotton
dress, sandals, and white beaded necklace. Male and
female targets were assigned to one of two gender-related
dress conditions. They were also assigned to one of three
occupations: engineering technician (masculine),
administrative secretary (feminine), or educational

20
counselor (neutral). Subjects rated targets on gender-
related personality traits, attractiveness, interpersonal
attraction, occupational success, and psychological well¬
being and adjustment.
It was found that the masculine clothing conditions
were associated with perceptions of greater occupational
success and higher ratings of masculine traits for both
men and women. Though the study does have limitations,
such as generalizability to real-world settings, the
results suggest that masculine traits, occupations, and
modes of dress are more highly valued than feminine ones
(Davis, 1982). The preference for masculine-typed
occupations and traits, and the prestige accorded to
masculine occupations have been supported by several
studies regarding gender and occupations (Shaffer &
Wegley, 1974; Shaffer & Johnson, 1980; Shepelak, Ogden, &
Tobin-Bennett, 1984; Beyard-Tyler & Haring, 1984).

CHAPTER 3
HYPOTHESES AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Hypotheses
The present study is designed to examine the
relationship between appearance and credibility formation
in a mass communication setting: the television interview
in which an individual serves as an expert source of
information. Based upon the findings of previous studies
which have demonstrated the effects of visual cues on
impressions and subsequent behavior and gender differences
in credibility, the following hypothesis is proposed:
HI. Overall, ratings of expertise, character,
dynamism, and total credibility of male experts
will be significantly higher than ratings of
female experts with identical credentials.
"Credibility” in this context will refer to overall
ratings of competence and character as defined by
McCroskey and Young (1981). These include ratings of
expertness and trust. It is believed that because there
seems to be a society-wide bias against women (Richardson,
1988), especially in terms of their competence as
professionals, a comparison of male and female experts of
similar background will again provide evidence that men
and women are not evaluated equally.
21

22
Lott's (1985) review of research concerning people's
evaluations of men and women in a variety of contexts
provides extensive evidence for a general societal
tendency to devalue a competent woman. A competent woman
is more likely to be devalued in serious, believable, and
realistic contexts and when there are consequences for the
evaluator, such as in a hiring situation. By extending
this type of inquiry to a source credibility context in a
mass communication setting, we can more fully determine
under what circumstances women professionals might be
rated differently than men in terms of how competent and
trustworthy they appear to be as sources of information.
The following hypotheses are offered:
H2. Overall, ratings of expertise, character,
dynamism, and total credibility will be
significantly different for the different
styles of appearance of female target persons.
Specifically, ratings for female experts will
be significantly lower in the casual appearance
condition than in the conservative condition.
H3. Subjects will perceive smaller differences in
expertise, character, dynamism, and total
credibility between men dressed conservatively
and men dressed casually than between women
dressed conservatively and casually.
In these last two hypotheses, "conservative"
appearance refers to dress styles which reflect
managerial, "masculine" business attire. "Casual"
appearance will reflect nonmanagerial, less formal attire.
Operationalization of these two conditions will be similar

23
to that developed by Cash (1985) and Scherbaum and
Shepherd (1987).
Hypothesis Two is based on findings of several
studies which have shown that people do hold certain
appearance expectations for professional, managerial-type
occupations (Davis, 1985; Cash, 1985). Harp et al. (1985)
demonstrated that people perceive marked differences in
modes of dress and what is appropriate work attire for one
type of professional. In that study, female news anchors
dressed in a conservative manner received higher ratings
of credibility than when dressed in less conservative
attire.
It is believed that because males hold a higher
initial aura of credibility as experts than females in our
society (Lott, 1985) and physical appearance is a more
important factor in the evaluations of females than of
males (Bar-Tal & Saxe, 1976), alterations in appearance
will be expected to affect the credibility of males less
than the credibility of women. That is, variations in
appearance are not expected to affect a male expert's
credibility ratings greatly. On the other hand, Bar-Tal
and Saxe (1976) point out that appearance plays a more
important part in the role fulfillment of women than of
men, and that our society expects women to emphasize their
physical appearance. That is, women are expected to care

24
about the way they look because they are aware of the
importance appearance has on their evaluations by others.
Thus, it is expected that the way in which a female target
is dressed would have a greater impact on how others would
rate her as being a competent, expert source than would be
the case with male experts.
In summary, the three hypotheses are intended to test
the notion that appearance can influence perceptions of
competence and trustworthiness. It is expected that
differences in appearance will significantly affect
credibility ratings more for female sources than for male
sources.
Research Questions
To better understand the effects visual cues such as
physical appearance have on perceptions of credibility,
subject factors must also be considered. The way in which
one interprets appearance as an indicator of credibility
would depend on the salience of this type of nonverbal cue
in forming an impression of the target. For instance,
Lambert (1972) found that age may affect how a person will
react to differences in the appearance of a target
individual. When approached by a neatly dressed female,
older subjects (over 35 years of age) were more willing to
comply with her request to interview them than when the
same target was less neatly dressed. This suggests that

25
older people may have more conventional attitudes toward
dress and may be less tolerant toward "sloppy" appearance.
Younger people, on the other hand, may not consider
"deviant" or unconventional appearance as inappropriate in
situations such as the one in which Lambert conducted his
study. However, in their study of female news anchors,
Harp et al. (1985) did not investigate differences between
age groups and their assessments of newscaster
credibility.
Another important variable to consider is subjects'
sex. Findings concerning how male and female subjects
evaluate different dress styles of male and female targets
have not been entirely consistent. For instance, in
Cash's (1985) study, male subjects preferred a female
target's managerial style over a nonmanagerial look.
However, other studies have found no significant
differences between men and women's ratings of target
persons according to clothing styles, regardless of
targets' sex (Hewitt & German, 1987).
Regarding how men and women rate other men and women
in general on credibility dimensions such as expertness
and trust, Carocci (1988) found that the college men in
her study tended to rate men higher on expertness than
women. The college women in her study, however, rated
both men and women similarly on the same dimensions. It

26
was also found that women rated men and women higher on
expertness, character, and dynamism than men did. In
other words, it seemed that women were more generous in
their responses than were men. Though Carocci's
definition of the study's targets was vague (men and women
"in general"), her findings do provide a direction of
study which would help us to understand further the
dynamics of person perception and how men and women differ
in their assessment of male and female sources in terms of
credibility.
The main purpose of this study is to investigate how
appearance can affect perceptions of credibility. In
addition to the hypotheses to be investigated, the
following research questions are posed to examine if and
how subjects' age and sex influence ratings of a source's
credibility depending upon that source's appearance style:
Ql. Do older and younger subjects differ in
their ratings of expertise, character,
dynamism, and total credibility of male and
female experts of similar backgrounds who
appear in different clothing?, and
Q2. Do male and female subjects differ in their
ratings of expertise, character, dynamism,
and total credibility of male and female
experts who appear in different clothing?
Results of this study may also add to the
understanding of the composition of stereotypes and the
role that physical appearance plays in their formation.
In addition, the study may also demonstrate under what

27
conditions and communicative situations differences in
gender may be found.
This study will be limited to investigation of
credibility of expert sources who appear on television
informational programming, such as news and talk shows.
"Expert" in this context is defined as an individual who
has some expertise in a particular area and who appears on
such programming.
In terms of practical applicability, it is believed
that research of this type would help producers of
informational programming to enhance the credibility of
their programs by having credible and credible-looking
expert guests appear on their programs. Professionals who
appear on such shows who want to enhance their own
credibility might also benefit, as well as professionals
in general. Perhaps more important, it is the
professional woman who may benefit more from research
which provides evidence of ways in which appearance
influences perceptions of credibility.

CHAPTER 4
METHOD
Subjects
Subjects were 76 undergraduates at the University of
Florida enrolled in classes during the spring semester of
1991, and 89 members of a civic organization in the
Orlando, Florida area. The researcher was familiar with
the civic organization and solicited the group's
participation during one of its monthly meetings. Data
were collected during the months of April and May, 1991.
There was a total of 67 males and 96 females in the final
experiment sample. The average number of subjects per
experimental condition was 41. A power analysis showed
that the sample size and experimental condition mean met
the requirements for achieving a .05 level of significance
for the overall F-tests in analyses of variance (Winer,
1962) .
Design
A2X2X2X2 factorial design was used.
Independent variables were: (1) appearance of target
source (conservative or casual), (2) sex of target source
(male or female), (3) sex of subject (male or female), and
28

29
(4) age group of subject (18 to 34 years old or 35 years
old and above).
There were eight sources appearing in the stimulus:
(1) two male targets dressed conservatively; (2) two male
targets dressed casually; (3) two female targets dressed
conservatively; and (4) two female targets dressed
casually. A total of four target sources was used. Each
was dressed in both casual and conservative attire.
However, subjects saw each target dressed either
conservatively or casually, but not both. Thus, each
subject saw one male target dressed conservatively, the
other male target dressed casually, one female target
dressed conservatively, and the other female target
dressed casually.
"Conservative" appearance for the male targets
consisted of a navy blue suit (jacket and slacks), white
shirt, and blue and red striped tie. Conservative
appearance for the female targets consisted of a navy blue
suit jacket, white blouse, red polka-dotted bow tie, and
navy blue skirt. The video was shot so that subjects did
not see the feet of any of the sources. The conservative
mode of dress for the male and female targets, then, was
designed to convey a professional, managerial image.
"Casual" appearance, on the other hand, was designed
to convey a less professional image. Casual appearance

30
for the male targets consisted of a short-sleeved, pink-
and-gray knit shirt and blue jeans. Casual appearance for
the female targets consisted of a pink, short-sleeved knit
top and dark blue slacks.
Hairstyles in both dress conditions were identical.
Male targets had short, above-the-collar hairstyles.
Female targets had shorter than shoulder-length hair.
Longer hair was coiffed into an upswept hairstyle.
In order to counteract any order effects, a "dummy"
source appeared before each target. A different dummy
appeared before each of the four targets used, for a total
of four dummies (two male and two female) and four target
sources. These were rotated so that subjects saw all four
targets, each in a different mode of dress.
The "dummy" source appeared in a "neutral" mode of
dress, neither conservative nor casual. Male dummy
sources were dressed in a white long-sleeved shirt, dark
blue slacks and either a gray or brown cardigan sweater.
Female dummy sources appeared either in a light-blue,
long-sleeved blouse and dark blue skirt or a white long-
sleeved blouse and a brown skirt.
None of the targets or dummies wore glasses. Male
targets and dummies had no beards or moustaches. All were
judged by the researcher to appear to be between 30 and 45
years of age.

31
There were four experimental conditions. In each
appeared two male targets, one conservative, one casual;
two female targets, one conservative, one casual; and four
dummy sources, two males and two females dressed
neutrally. Each target was preceded by a dummy; the same
dummy appeared before the same target.
Materials
Four videotaped versions of the stimulus were
produced. Each consisted of a videotape containing eight
simulated television interviews. The source was
identified by words below the face consisting of his or
her name and occupation.
A total of eight segment topics was used. All dealt
with a similar subject—marine animals. This subject was
chosen because of its noncontroversial and informative
nature. Each segment dealt with a different aspect of the
topic, and each appeared to be an excerpt from a full-
length interview in a studio setting.
In each segment a male program "host" appeared with
the source. The host was dressed similarly to the dummy
sources. He wore a beige suit jacket, cream-colored
shirt, yellow patterned tie, and tan slacks. The host did
not have glasses, a beard or moustache, and his hairstyle
was the same as the other male targets and dummies.

32
Table 3-1
Order of Sources in Experimental Conditions
Condition ]
Source
Dress
Condition 2
Source
Dress
Dummy 1
Neutral
Dummy 1
Neutral
Male A
Casual
Male A
Conservative
Dummy 2
Neutral
Dummy 2
Neutral
Female A
Casual
Female A
Conservative
Dummy 3
Neutral
Dummy 3
Neutral
Male B
Conservative
Male B
Casual
Dummy 4
Neutral
Dummy 4
Neutral
Female B
Conservative
Female B
Casual
Condition 3
Condition 4
Source
Dress
Source
Dress
Dummy 4
Neutral
Dummy 4
Neutral
Female B
Casual
Female B
Conservative
Dummy 1
Neutral
Dummy 1
Neutral
Male A
Conservative
Male A
Casual
Dummy 2
Neutral
Dummy 2
Neutral
Female A
Conservative
Female A
Casual
Dummy 3
Neutral
Dummy 3
Neutral
Male B
Casual
Male B
Conservative
Note: Dummies 1 and 3 are
female; Dummies
2 and 4 are
male.

33
The same program host appeared in the same clothing
in all eight segments. The host asked the source (target
or dummy) a question five to 10 seconds in length
concerning marine biology, with the source responding with
an answer that did not exceed 50 seconds in length. The
segment began with a wide-shot in which both the host, who
was not identified with a graphic, and source appeared.
After the host posed a question, the source was shown in a
medium-shot with an identification across the chest area
which consisted of two lines. On the first line was a
fictitious name, and on the second line were the words
"associate professor of zoology." All sources, both
target and dummy, were identified in the same manner. The
graphic remained on screen for an average of seven seconds
while the source was shown responding to the host's
question. It appeared again during the last seven seconds
of the source's response.
All targets and dummies were assigned a separate
topic. Targets spoke about the same topic in both dress
conditions. Each interview, with both dummy and target
sources, lasted approximately 45 to 55 seconds in length.
The interviews were professionally produced in the studios
of a local public television station. The host was the
station's news director who also hosted authentic
informational programming produced at the station. All

34
interview scripts were displayed on teleprompters.
Segments were thoroughly rehearsed so that gestures and
animation by the target sources were equivalent in both
dress conditions. The interviews were recorded onto 1/2"
videotape. Total tape time was approximately eight
minutes.
Procedure
Several pretests were conducted. These were to
ensure that all segment topics were rated similarly in
interest, that target and dummy sources were perceived to
be of similar physical attractiveness and rated similarly
on several credibility variables when dressed in identical
costumes, and that the casual, conservative, and neutral
dress conditions were rated as being significantly
different.
Pretest 1: Topic interest
A group of 19 students, 11 males and 8 females,
enrolled in an introductory mass-media writing class
served as subjects. All were between the ages of 18 and
34.
Subjects read 16 segments of purported scripts.
After reading each segment, subjects filled out a seven-
point semantic differential scale indicating how
interesting or boring they found each segment topic (see
Appendix A). Mean scores for each segment were used to

35
assess the similarity in interest ratings of each topic.
Mean ratings ranged from 4.37 to 2.89, with higher ratings
indicating higher interest. The two segments that rated
highest and the two that rated lowest in interest were
discarded. The remaining 12 topics were randomly assigned
to the actors appearing in the stimulus videotape used in
Pretest 2.
Pretest 2; Target similarity
A group of 42 students, 21 males and 21 females,
enrolled in an undergraduate telecommunication survey
course for non-majors served as subjects. Forty-one
subjects were between the ages of 18 and 24, and one was
between 25 and 34.
Subjects viewed a videotape of interview segments
either with or without audio of 12 persons (six male and
six female) dressed in conservative attire. Subjects were
randomly divided into two groups: 23 viewed the stimulus
videotape without audio; 19 viewed it with audio.
The purpose of this pretest was mainly to see that
the four people who were to serve as target sources in the
final experiment were perceived as similarly attractive
and competent. The 12 topics which were pretested as
being of similar interest were used; each source talked
about one topic. After viewing each segment, subjects
rated each target on the following seven-point semantic-

36
differential scales: attractive-unattractive,
intelligent-unintelligent, trained-untrained, expert-
inexpert, and competent-incompetent (see Appendix B). A
reliability analysis of the latter four semantic-
differential scales used to assess competence similarity
for the 12 sources resulted in a Cronbach's alpha of .92.
Ratings on all four scales were then totaled and treated
as composite credibility scores. The highest possible
credibility score was 28, the lowest was 4.
Credibility scores for each of the 12 actors were
then submitted to t-tests to check for significant
differences between the audio and no-audio conditions. No
differences were found at the .05 significance level based
on two-tailed probability. Not hearing the actors had no
significant effect on how subjects rated their
credibility.
The credibility scores from the audio condition were
then used to determine which eight actors would appear in
the stimulus to be used in Pretest 3 and the final
experiment. Mean credibility scores ranged from 20.1 to
22.8. The four actors (two male and two female) receiving
the lowest credibility scores were eliminated from the
stimulus. The four sources with the highest competence
scores served as the dress-condition targets in the final

37
experiment. Those four sources with the next highest
competence scores served as dummies.
All 12 actors were rated similarly on attractiveness,
with mean ratings on this item ranging from 3.2 to 4.5 (on
a seven-point scale). In addition, t-tests between male
and female actors' credibility scores showed no
significant differences in either audio or no-audio
condition. Male and female actors dressed conservatively
were rated similarly in credibility.
Pretest 3: Dress conditions
Subjects in this final pretest were 27 students (10
males, 17 females) enrolled in an undergraduate sociology
course. Twenty-four subjects were between the ages of 18
and 24, and three were between 25 and 44.
Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups:
one group contained 11 subjects, the other contained 16.
One group viewed segments of Male Target A dressed
casually, Male Target B dressed conservatively, Female
Target A dressed casually, Female Target B dressed
conservatively, and all four dummies dressed neutrally.
The other group viewed segments of Male Target A dressed
conservatively, Male Target B dressed casually, Female
Target A dressed conservatively, Female Target B dressed
casually, and all four dummies.

38
After viewing the targets, subjects rated them on the
following seven-point semantic-differential scales:
conservative clothing—casual clothing, professional¬
looking—unprofessional-looking, and masculine clothing-
feminine clothing (see Appendix C). Subjects also rated
the dummies on the same scales to determine that dummy
dress styles were perceived to be neither very
conservative nor very casual and neither very professional
nor very unprofessional.
For each of the four actors who were designated to be
targets, individual t-tests run between dress conditions
showed significant differences at the .05 level (based on
two-tailed probability) on the conservative-casual
clothing and professional-unprofessional looking scales.
When actors appeared in conservative attire, they received
significantly higher ratings on both scales than when they
appeared in casual clothing. The overall mean rating on
the conservative clothing—casual clothing scale for
targets in the conservative clothing condition was 6.73,
with seven indicating very conservative clothing. The
mean rating for targets in the casual clothing condition
was 1.92. The overall mean rating on the professional¬
looking—unprofessional-looking scale for targets in the
conservative condition was 6.42, with seven indicating

39
very professional-looking. The mean rating on the same
scale for targets in the casual condition was 2.65.
T-tests conducted on ratings for the masculine-
feminine clothing scales for actors in the two dress
conditions revealed significant differences for only two
of the four targets, one male and one female. In both
cases significantly higher ratings on the masculine¬
looking—feminine-looking scale (seven indicating very
masculine-clothing) were given to these targets when they
were dressed in conservative clothing than when dressed in
casual clothing.1 In short, conservative clothing was
rated as being more masculine for these two targets.
A reliability analysis conducted on mean ratings for
the four dummy sources appearing in the neutral dress
condition showed that subjects rated them similarly on the
conservative-casual and professional-unprofessional
looking scales (Cronbach's alpha= .71 and .62,
respectively). Ratings for both these scales were between
4.72 (highest) and 2.13 (lowest). A reliability analysis
conducted on mean ratings for the masculine-feminine
clothing scale showed that subjects rated dummy sources
similarly on this scale (Cronbach's alpha= .56). Mean
masculine clothing-feminine clothing ratings for dummies
were between 5.45 (highest) and 2.9 (lowest).

40
It was concluded that the conservative and casual
dress condition manipulation was successful. Actors
appearing in the videotape used for this pretest were
included in the final experimental stimulus.
Final Experiment
In the actual experiment, subjects were randomly
assigned to one of four groups. Each group viewed one of
four versions of the stimulus videotape. After each
segment, the videotape machine was stopped and subjects
filled out credibility scales measuring each source's
competence, character, and dynamism as defined by
McCroskey and Young (1981) and Miller and Hewgill (1964) .
Each characteristic was presented as a series of
seven-point semantic differential scales. The competence
dimension was measured by the following scales:
intelligent-unintelligent, trained-untrained, expert-
inexpert, informed-uninformed, competent-incompetent, and
stupid-bright. The scales used for the character
dimension were: virtuous-sinful, dishonest-honest,
selfish-unselfish, sympathetic-unsympathetic, high
character-low character, and trustworthy-untrustworthy.
Dynamism was measured by the following scales:
aggressive-meek, bold-timid, energetic-tired, and
extroverted-introverted (see Appendix D).

41
After rating the last source in each condition,
subjects completed a questionnaire containing a series of
items concerning demographic information: age, sex,
education level, income level, and occupation (or, if
retired, former occupation) (see Appendix E).
Instrument Validity and Reliability
The 16 semantic-differential scales of items used in
the final experiment have previously been found to be
correlated with three principal dimensions used to measure
source credibility: competence (called expertise in this
experiment), character, and dynamism. The competence and
character variables used in the present study's instrument
are borrowed from factor-analytic research by McCroskey
and Young (1981). The four variables used to measure the
dynamism dimension were previously used by Miller and
Hewgill (1964).
Before analysis of results pertaining to the
hypotheses and research questions could be conducted,
validity of the experimental instrument was verified to
show, in terms of empirical validity, that the instrument
actually taps the attributes of expertise, character, and
dynamism that it purports to measure, and that the
instrument extracts only those attributes that are of
interest to the researcher. By doing this, the researcher

42
can be assured that the instrument also has construct
validity (Stamm, 1981).
The instrument used should also demonstrate some
degree of reliability in terms of its stability and
consistency. That is, the instrument should be able to
produce similar results when administered over time.
Reliable measures should be able to detect relationships
between variables and give the researcher confidence that
the instrument will yield the same results when used
repeatedly (Wimmer and Dominick, 1983).
Empirical and construct validity of the variables
used in the present study were demonstrated by conducting
a confirmatory factor analysis on the 16 scales used to
gauge how subjects perceived the actors appearing in the
stimulus video. A reliability analysis using Cronbach's
alpha was used to assess the general reliability of the
credibility measures. These two procedures were used to
verify the correlations between the variables contained in
each credibility dimension.
Factor Analysis
Confirmatory factor analysis begins with a
preconceived idea about the possible structure of a
particular area. Variables are then selected which might
fit that structure (Child, 1990). In this case, expertise
was measured by the following seven-point semantic

43
differential scales: intelligent-unintelligent, trained-
untrained, expert-inexpert, informed-uninformed,
competent-incompetent, and stupid-bright. Sources'
character was represented by the following seven-point
scales: virtuous-sinful, honest-dishonest, selfish-
unselfish, sympathetic-unsympathetic, high character-low
character, and trustworthy-untrustworthy. Dynamism was
measured on the following four scales: aggressive-meek,
bold-timid, energetic-tired, and extroverted-introverted.
The factor analysis was conducted after all data from
the final experiment were collected. Due to the unwieldy
nature of attempting to analyze all 16 variables for all
eight sources, a total of 128 variables, eight separate
factor analyses were conducted, one for each source
subjects saw, regardless of experimental condition. Thus,
only the 16 variables used to rate each source were
included in the factor extraction.
A principal factor design utilizing varimax rotation
was used, with missing values replaced by variable means.
Factor loadings produced in the rotated factor matrix were
used to determine how well variable groupings matched
their relevant indices.
The desired three-factor extraction was obtained for
two of the eight analyses. Five of the analyses resulted
in a four-factor solution, and one of the analyses

44
resulted in a five-factor solution (for examples of three-
and four-factor solutions, see Tables 3-2 and 3-3). Among
these, there were no consistent patterns of aberrant
variable groupings. In general, those variables which
were expected to be correlated, were. Variables which
were extracted as components of separate factors but had a
minimum loading of .30 on their predetermined index were
considered as part of the appropriate factor. Thus, for
purposes of this study, it was concluded that the
variables used to determine each credibility index were
sufficiently correlated.
Reliability
Reliability analyses were conducted by creating
separate scales for each of the three credibility
dimensions. Variable ratings for all eight sources viewed
by subjects, regardless of condition, were included in the
analyses. Results are as follows: expertise dimension
Cronbach's alpha = .98 (six variables, a total of 48 items
analyzed); character dimension Cronbach's alpha = .99 (six
variables, a total of 48 items analyzed); and dynamism
dimension Cronbach's alpha = .98 (four variables, a total
of 32 items analyzed) (n = 165 for all three analyses,
including missing values).
High reliability coefficients among the variables led
to the conclusion that they could be summed into their

45
appropriate indices for use in testing the hypotheses and
research questions.
Analysis
The scales for the credibility dimensions were
scored by assigning a value of seven to the responses
indicating the highest degree of perceived intelligence,
training, expertise, and so on. A value of one was given
to responses for the lowest ratings.
Scores for expertise, character, and dynamism were
obtained by summing the values of each dimension's various
factors. Accordingly, the possible range of scores for
each dimension was: competence—6 to 42, character—6 to
42, and dynamism—4 to 28. The maximum possible total
credibility score was 112.
Hypothesis One was tested by creating mean dimension
scores according to target sources' sex, regardless of
dress condition. Expertise, character, dynamism, and
total credibility scores for the two male target sources
were averaged, as were the scores for the two female
target sources. Thus, there were four scores for each
sex. These were submitted to t-tests to determine if mean
scores for male and female targets were significantly
different.
For Hypothesis Two, scores for both female target
sources were averaged according to dress condition. These

46
Table 3-2
Example of Three-Factor Solution of Credibility Variables
Factor Loadings
Variable Expertise Character Dynamism
Expert-Inexpert
Intelligent-Unintelligent
Informed-Uninformed
Bright-Stupid
Competent-Incompetent
Trained-Untrained
Honest-Dishonest
Trustworthy-Untrustworthy
High Character-Low Character
Sympathetic-Unsympathetic
Virtuous-Sinful
Selfish-Unselfish
Aggressive-Meek
Energetic-Tired
Bold-Timid
Extroverted-Introverted
86890
72823
72127
63599
58738
57734
.75405
.74913
.73580
.66107
.66021
.64408
.83165
.68346
.57408
.45554

Table 3-3
Example of Four-Factor Solution of Credibility Variables
47
Factor Loadings
Variable
Expertise
Character Dynamism
Expert-Inexpert
.73516
Intel1igent-Uninte11igent
.73308
Informed-Uninformed
.78259
Bright-Stupid
.53441
♦Competent-Incompetent
.45798
♦Trained-Untrained
.46763
Honest-Dishonest
.63889
Trustworthy-Untrustworthy
.69396
High Character-Low Character
.62931
Sympathetic-Unsympathetic
.55329
Virtuous-Sinful
.77853
Selfish-Unselfish
.67965
Aggressive-Meek
.77490
Energetic-Tired
.53406
Bold-Timid
.56675
Extroverted-Introverted
.46779
♦These two variables were loaded onto a fourth factor.
Factor loadings on this separate factor were:
Competent-Incompetent .79621
Trained-Untrained .55140

48
means were then submitted to t-tests to check for
significant differences between casual and conservative
dress conditions.
For Hypothesis Three, differences between expertise,
character, dynamism, and total credibility scores of
conservatively dressed male targets and casually dressed
male targets were compared to differences between the same
scores of conservatively dressed female targets and
casually dressed female targets. A separate difference
score was calculated for each dimension and for total
credibility by subtracting scores in the casual condition
from their corresponding scores in the conservative
condition. Mean difference scores for each dimension and
total credibility were then submitted to t-tests to see if
differences between dress conditions for male sources were
smaller than differences in dress conditions for female
sources.
In sum, the statistical procedures used to test the
three hypotheses were intended to analyze the differences
between subjects, since target sources were not seen in
both modes of dress. In testing Hypothesis One, scores
for male sources were compared to scores for female
sources, regardless of dress. Hypothesis Two was tested
by comparing scores of female sources when they were
dressed conservatively to their scores when they were

49
dressed casually. Hypothesis Three was tested by
comparing differences between clothing conditions of male
sources with differences between clothing conditions of
female sources.
In order to examine differences in how older and
younger subjects and male and female subjects rated the
four targets, dimension and total credibility scores for
each of the four target sources were submitted to two-way
analyses of variance tests (ANOVA), with subjects' age and
sex serving as independent variables.
Note
^•Male Target A received significantly higher ratings
on the masculine clothing-feminine clothing scale (with
higher scores indicating higher masculinity) when dressed
conservatively (M = 7.0) than when dressed casually (M =
5.9), t(24) = -4.08, p < .001. Subjects rated Female
Target A's conservative clothing to be significantly more
masculine (M = 3.6) than her casual clothing (M = 2.36,
t(22.3) = -2.35, p = .028. No significant differences
were found for mean scores on the masculine clothing-
feminine clothing scale between conservative and casual
conditions for Male Target B (conservative: M = 6.27;
casual: M = 5.31) and Female Target B (conservative: M =
2.55; casual: M = 2.87).

CHAPTER 5
RESULTS
The present study was designed to examine the
relationship between appearance and subsequent perceptions
of credibility of male and female sources appearing in a
television interview. The hypotheses were intended to
investigate the differences between credibility attributed
to male and female experts, and to see if the way a source
dresses makes a difference in how others perceive his or
her credibility. The research questions were posed to
investigate the effects a receiver's age and sex have on
how he or she perceived a source based on that source's
appearance. Findings are presented first in terms of the
three hypotheses, and then in terms of the interactions,
if any, between the age and sex of message receivers and
their ratings of target sources' credibility.
Description of Subjects
The final experiment was conducted with a total of
165 subjects: 76 were students enrolled in various
undergraduate classes at the University of Florida; 89
were members of a civic organization based in Orlando,
Florida.
50

51
The student sample contained students enrolled in
undergraduate classes in psychology (n = 46), mass media
writing (n = 19), and art (n = 11). There were 26 males
and 50 females. Seventy-one were between the ages of 18
and 34, and five were between the ages of 35 and 70.
Most, 80%, were undergraduates, and 20% reported having a
bachelor's degree or some formal education beyond college.
Mean family income for this group was between $40,000 and
$60,000 per year.
The civic organization sample of 89 subjects
contained 41 males and 46 females. Two subjects did not
indicate their sex. Seventy-eight of the subjects from
this group were between the ages of 35 and 70 or above;
only eight were between the ages of 18 and 34. Three
subjects did not indicate their age. As for education
level, 24% had completed high school, 35% had some college
education or bachelor's degree, 8% had a vocational or
trade school education, and 31% had some formal education
beyond college or some type of graduate degree. Two
percent of the subjects did not indicate education level.
Mean family income for this group was between $40,000 and
$60,000 per year.
Of the 165 total number of subjects, 79 were between
the ages of 18 and 35, and 83 were 35 years old or older

52
(three subjects did not indicate age). Males totaled 67,
females totaled 96 (two subjects did not indicate sex).
The number of subjects assigned to each experimental
condition were as follows: Condition One—42, Condition
Two—40, Condition Three—38, Condition Four—45. There
was a mean of 17 males and 24 females per condition.
There was a mean of 19 subjects between the ages of 18 and
34 per condition, and a mean of 21 subjects 35 or older
per condition.
Results for Hypotheses
Hypothesis One
The first hypothesis predicted that male experts
would receive higher ratings of competence, character,
dynamism, and overall credibility than female experts with
identical credentials, regardless of dress condition.
This hypothesis was supported only in part. Results of
t-tests conducted between male and female target experts'
credibility dimensions show that significant differences
were found only for the dimension of dynamism. Subjects
rated male targets higher in dynamism (M = 19.72) than
they did female targets (M = 18.53), t(152) = 4.74,
E < .001.
Closer examination of this finding revealed that one
of the female targets (Female Target A) received
significantly lower dynamism ratings than the two male

53
targets when comparisons were made within both dress
conditions. In the casual dress condition, Female Target
A received significantly lower scores in dynamism (M =
18.26) than Male Target A (M = 19.19), t(77) = 2.18, p =
.03, and Male Target B (M = 20.6), t(145.8) = - 3.48, p =
.001. In the conservative dress condition, Female Target
A also was rated significantly lower in dynamism (M =
17.32) than Male Target A (M = 19.69), t(67) = 4.13, p <
.001, and Male Target B (M = 19.96), t(147.6) = 3.86, p <
.001. Female Target A was also rated significantly lower
in dynamism (M = 17.32) than the other female target (B)
(M = 19.39) when the two were dressed in conservative
clothing, t(148.2) = 3.12, p = .002.
In addition, Female Target B was rated significantly
lower in dynamism (M = 19.38) than Male Target B (M =
20.6) when both were dressed casually, t(72) = 2.16, p =
.03. Though Female Target B was rated to be slightly
higher in dynamism (M = 19.38) than Male Target A (M =
18.89) when both were dressed casually, this difference
was not significant. As for comparisons made within the
conservative dress condition, Male Target A (M = 19.57)
and Male Target B (M = 19.88) were rated slightly higher
in dynamism than Female Target A (M = 19.39), but these
differences were not significant.

54
Taken together, these additional findings led the
researcher to conclude that the dynamism finding mainly
could be attributed to the lower ratings given to Female
Target A. With one exception, however, both female
targets were rated lower in dynamism than both male
targets, though these differences were not always
significant.
Means for male and female target credibility ratings
are presented in Table 4-1. Male targets received only
slightly higher expertise and total credibility scores.
Female targets, on the other hand, received higher scores
in the character dimension. However, none of these
differences was significant.
Hypothesis Two
Hypothesis Two predicted that credibility ratings for
female experts would be significantly lower when they
appeared in casual clothing rather than in conservative
clothing. This hypothesis was not supported. T-tests run
on each credibility dimension found no significant
differences between the two dress conditions, although it
seemed that when female targets were dressed
conservatively, they received slightly higher ratings in
expertise, dynamism, and overall credibility (see Table 4-
2). Casual dress of female targets did not seem to
detract significantly from their credibility.

55
Table 4-1
Mean Credibility Dimension Scores for Male and Female
Targets, Regardless of Dress Condition
Credibility Dimension
Target
Males
Females
Expertise
33.99
33.94
SD
5.0
5.1
Character
28.25
28.61
SD
6.3
6.4
Dynamism
19.72a
18.53a
SD
3.8
3.3
Total Credibility
80.68
79.91
SD
13.4
13.6
Note: Means with common subscripts are significantly
different at the p < .001 level, one-tailed
probability.
Hypothesis Three
Hypothesis Three was not supported. T-tests
conducted on the differences between male and female
source scores based on their dress condition revealed that
differences between scores for males were not
significantly smaller than those for females. In fact,
differences in the character dimension between
conservatively and casually dressed men were larger than
those for women. It seemed that character scores for

56
casually dressed males were higher than those for
conservatively dressed males. In other words, for the
character dimension, the difference between dress
conditions for males (M = -.95) was significantly larger
than the difference between dress conditions for females
(M = .23), t(142) = 2.11, E = -036 (see Table 4-2).
When the dimension scores for male targets were
examined, it was found that when male targets were dressed
casually, they received higher scores in the character
Table 4-2
Mean Difference Scores for Conservative and Casual Dress
Conditions
of Male and Female Taraet
Sources
Dimension
Mean Difference Score
Females Males
t
df
prob.
Expertise
SD
. 14
6.0
-.42
6.4
.85
148
. 395
Character
SD
.23
4.4
-.95
5.1
2.11
142
. 036
Dynamism
SD
-.12
4.5
-.02
4.2
-.20
144
.839
Total
credibility
SD
.63
12.6
-1.69
14.5
1.56
149
. 122
Note: Mean difference scores for each dimension were
calculated by the following equation: Conservative
score - casual score = difference score

57
dimension (M = 29.18) than they did when dressed in
conservative clothing (M = 28.18), t(147) = 2.38, e < .02
(see Table 4-3).
Closer examination of the difference in character
scores between conservatively and casually dressed male
targets showed that older subjects gave higher character
ratings to casually dressed males. Older males rated
casually dressed male targets (M = 30.89) significantly
higher in character than they did conservatively dressed
males (M = 28.39), t(35) = 2.35, e = .025. Older females
also rated casually dressed male targets (M = 27.76)
significantly higher in character than they did
conservatively dressed male targets (M = 26.13),
t(37) = 2.09, £ = .04. No significant differences between
the two dress conditions were found among younger subjects
of either sex.
In sum, the findings for Hypothesis Three showed that
dress did not make more of a significant difference in the
credibility ratings of female targets than it did for male
targets. Regarding character, the opposite was true:
Among older subjects, dress did make a significant
difference in how they rated male targets. Older men and
women regarded male targets dressed casually to be higher
in character than male targets dressed conservatively.

58
Table 4-3
Mean Credibility Dimension Scores for Male and Female
Targets by Dress Condition
Male Targets
Female Targets
Dimension
Conservative
Casual
Conservative
Casual
Expertise
SD
33.80
5.8
34.18
6.0
34.14
6.0
33.84
5.9
Character
SD
28.18a
5.9
29.18a
6.2
29.46
5.5
29.21
5.6
Dynamism
SD
19.82
4.0
19.79
4.3
18.57
4.0
18.81
3.8
Total
credibility
SD
79.91
14.9
81.46
15.5
80.38
15.0
79.64
15.1
Note: Means with common subscripts significantly differ
at the p < .05 level, two-tailed probability.
Summary of Hypothesis Findings
Findings concerning the three hypotheses show that
subjects rated male and female targets equally in terms of
expertise, character, and total credibility. The only
dimension in which male sources had higher scores was
dynamism. These differences were mainly due to lower
ratings given to one of the female targets.
Clothing of female targets had no effect on how
subjects judged their credibility. Male targets were

59
rated as higher in character by older subjects when
dressed in casual rather than conservative attire, but
their expertise, dynamism, and total credibility were not
affected by what they wore.
Results for Research Questions
The two research questions were posed to examine
differences between older and younger subjects and male
and female subjects. To accommodate unequal cell sizes
based on age and sex, multiple analyses of variance
(MANOVA) were conducted for each of the dependent
variables based on target sex and dress condition, with
subjects' age and sex as factors.
If interaction effects of subject age and sex were
present, t-tests were used to probe significant
differences between subject cell means (Weaver, 1981). If
no interaction effects were revealed but differences were
suspected, t-tests were used to uncover significant
findings. All t-test procedures were based on two-tailed
probability.
Male Targets. Regardless of Dress
Expertise. No significant main effects for subject
age or sex were found for ratings of male targets'
expertise. However, a subsequent t-test conducted between
ratings given by younger females (M = 35.5) and older
females (M = 33.56) revealed a significant difference at

60
the e < *05 level, t(89) =2.01. A comparison of means
for male target expertise by subject age and sex is found
in Table 4-4. Men, regardless of age, seemed to rate male
targets similarly on expertise.
Character. A two-way analysis of variance revealed a
significant interaction between subject age and sex on the
character dimension for male targets, F(l, 146) = 5.23,
E = .02. Mean scores for this dimension are found in
Table 4-4. T-tests used to probe differences between
subgroups found that younger females (M = 30.03) tended to
give higher ratings in the character dimension to male
targets than did younger males (M = 28.17), t(60.0) =
-1.98, e = .05, and older females (M = 26.10), t(63) =
2.78, e < .01. Both older and younger men seemed to rate
male targets similarly.
Dynamism. No significant main effects for age or sex
were found for the dynamism of male targets. However, t-
tests again revealed a significant difference between
younger and older females, with younger females (M =
20.57) giving higher ratings of dynamism to male targets
than did older females (M =18.47), t(63.2) = 2.19, e = *03
(see Table 4-4).
Total credibility. A two-way ANOVA for overall
credibility scores for male targets revealed a significant
main effect for subject age, F(l, 149) = 7.37, e = .007.

61
Younger females tended to give male targets the highest
total credibility scores (see Table 4-4). Subsequent t-
tests found that younger females' ratings (M = 86.1) of
male targets were significantly higher than those given by
younger males (M = 81.5), t(69) = -1.96, p = .05, by older
males (M = 79.63), t(59.0) = -2.28, p = .03, and by older
females (M = 76.19), t(68.1) = 3.72, £ < .001. In sum,
younger female subjects gave significantly higher total
credibility ratings to male target sources than did the
other three subgroups.
Female Targets. Regardless of Dress
Expertise. A significant two-way interaction between
subject age and sex was found for expertise of female
targets F(l, 149) = 8.65, p = .004. Younger females gave
significantly higher expertise ratings (M = 36.10) to
female targets than did younger males (M = 32.89), t(69) =
-3.06, p = .003, older males (M = 34), t(68) = -2.17, p =
.03, and older females (M = 32.41), t(70.8) = 3.63, p =
.001 (see Table 4-4).
Character. Interaction effects of subject age and
sex were also significant for character ratings of female
targets, F(l, 147) = 8.02, p = .005. T-tests conducted
between the four subgroups uncovered a plethora of
significant differences (see Table 4-4). Younger females
gave significantly higher character ratings to female

62
targets (M = 31.20) than did younger males (M = 28.57),
t(69) = -2.31, e = .02, older males (M = 28.72), t(83) =
-2.02, e < *05, and older females (M = 25.30), t(66.1) =
4.01, e < .001. In addition, older female subjects (M =
25.30) gave significantly lower character scores to female
targets than did both younger males (M = 28.57), t(60.5) =
2.23, e = .03, and older males (M = 28.72), t(78) = 2.01,
E < -05. To sum, younger female subjects gave the highest
character scores to female targets, while older females
gave the lowest scores. Older and younger men seemed to
rate female targets similarly on character.
Dynamism. A significant two-way interaction between
subject age and sex was found for the dynamism dimension
of female targets, F(l, 146) =7.12, £ < .01. Younger
female subjects rated female targets significantly higher
in dynamism (M = 19.85) than did younger males (M =
18.17), t(69) = -3.04, e = .003, older males (M = 18.55),
t(60.3) = -2.03, e < .05, and older females (M = 17.30),
t(59.2) = 3.37, E = *001 (see Table 4-4).
Total credibility. A significant two-way interaction
between subject age and sex was found for total
credibility scores of female targets, F(l, 149) = 8.78,
E = .004. Younger males (M = 79.63) and older females
(M = 73.57) rated the total credibility of female targets
significantly differently, t(63.9) = 2.08, e = «04.

63
Younger female subjects (M = 87.16) rated women targets
higher than did younger males (M = 79.63), t(69) = -3.47,
E = .001, older males (M = 78.76), t(58.1) = -3.06,
E = .003, and older females (M = 73.57), t(64.5) = 5.0,
E < .001. In sum, younger female subjects gave
significantly higher ratings of total credibility to
female target sources than did the other three subgroups
(see Table 4-4).
Conservatively Dressed Female Targets
Expertise. A significant two-way interaction between
subject age and sex was found for expertise of
conservatively dressed female targets, F(1,147) = 5.24,
E = .02. Younger females (M = 36.02) rated conservatively
dressed female targets significantly higher in expertise
than did younger males (M = 32.74), t(69) = -2.59,
E = .01, and older females (M = 32.88, t(70.2) = 2.45,
E < -02) (see Table 4-5). Older and younger male subjects
tended to rate conservatively dressed female targets
similarly on expertise.
Character. A significant two-way interaction between
subject age and sex was found for the character dimension
of conservatively dressed female targets, F(l, 143) =
7.42, e = .007. Significant differences were once again
found between younger females (M = 31.08) and older
females (M = 26.15), t(68.6) = 3.39, £ = .001. Younger

64
Table 4-4
Mean Credibility
Dimension
Scores for
Male and
Female
Targets Regardless of Dress
Condition
bv Subiect Age and
Sex
Male Subjects
Female
Subjects
Dimension
Older
Younger
Older
Younger
Male
s Targets
Expertise
SD
33.54
5.4
33.39
4.8
33.56a
5.0
35.50a
4.2
Character
SD
28.97
6.5
28.17a
3.2
26.10b
8.1
30.03ab
4.6
Dynamism
SD
19.92
3.1
19.94
2.9
18.47a
5.6
20.57a
3.0
Total
credibility
SD
79.63a
15.6
81.50b
9.3
76.19c
15.1
86.lOabc
9.3
Female Targets
Expertise
SD
34.0 a
5.0
32.89b
5.0
32.41c
5.7
36.lOabc
3.7
Character
SD
28.72ad
6.4
28.57be
3.4
25.30cde 31.20abc
8.4 4.9
Dynamism
SD
18.55a
3.3
18.17b
2.0
17.30c
4.4
19.85abc
2.3
Total
credibility
SD
78.76a
15.2
79.63bd
8.0
73.57cd
15.7
87.16abc
8.8
Note: Means along dimensions with common subscripts
significantly differ at p < .05 level, two-tailed
probability.

65
females (M = 31.08) also gave significantly higher
character ratings to conservatively dressed female sources
than did younger males (M = 28.39, t(69) = -2.1, e = .04.
Younger and older male subjects again tended to behave
similarly (see Table 4-5).
Dynamism. A significant two-way interaction was
found between subject age and sex for dynamism scores
given to conservatively dressed female targets, F(l, 144)
= 5.36, £ = .02. Younger females gave higher dynamism
scores to conservatively dressed female targets (M =
19.44) than did older females (M = 17.24), t(69.8) = 2.36,
E = .02; older and younger men seemed to rate these
targets similarly on dynamism (see Table 4-5).
Total credibility. As for total credibility scores
of conservatively dressed female targets, a two-way
interaction between subject age and sex was significant at
the e = *01 level, F(l, 147) = 6.86. Younger females
(M = 86.54) gave significantly higher overall credibility
scores to conservatively dressed female targets than did
younger males (M = 79.0), t(69) = -2.79, e = .007, older
males (M = 79.97), t(59.4) = -2.0, e = -05, and older
females (M = 74.62, t(69.5) = 3.89, E < .001 (see Table 4-
5). In sum, younger females rated conservatively dressed
female targets higher in overall credibility than did the
three other subgroups.

66
Casually Dressed Female Targets
Expertise. Significant interaction effects between
subject age and sex were found among expertise scores of
casually dressed female targets, F(l, 149) = 7.59,
E = .007. Younger females (M = 36.19) gave significantly
higher expertise ratings to casually dressed female
targets than did younger males (M = 33.04), t(69) = -2.73,
p < .01, and older females (M = 31.98), t(71.7) = 3.97,
P < .001 (see Table 4-5). Differences between mean
expertise scores for casually dressed female targets given
by younger females (M = 36.19) and older males approached
significance, (M = 33.97), t(85) = -1.93, E = -057. No
differences were found between older and younger men in
their ratings of casually dressed females' expertise.
Character. A significant interaction between subject
age and sex was found for the character dimension of
casually dressed female targets, F(l, 142) = 6.10,
E < .02. Younger females gave significantly higher
character scores to casually dressed female targets
(M = 31.31) than did younger males (M = 28.74), t(69) =
-2.02, e < -05, older males (M = 28.78), t(82) = -2.14,
E < .04, and older females (M = 26.41), t(67.3) = 3.5,
E = .001 (see Table 4-5).
Dynamism. A significant main effect was found for
subject age on the dynamism dimension of casually dressed

67
female targets, F(l, 144) = A.IB, e = .03. Subsequent t-
tests revealed that younger female subjects rated casually
dressed female targets significantly higher in dynamism
(M = 20.27) than did younger males (M = 18.48),
t(69) = -2.5, e < -02, older males (M = 18.22), £(63.1) =
-2.67, e = «01, and older females (M = 17.8), t(63.0) =
2.96, e = -004 (see Table 4-5).
Total credibility. A significant interaction between
subject age and sex for total credibility of casually
dressed female targets was found, F(l, 149) = 7.54,
E = .007. Younger female subjects found casually dressed
female targets to be higher in overall credibility
(M = 87.77) than did younger males (M = 80.26), t(69) =
-3.11, e = .003, older males (M = 77.82), t(58.3) = -3.48,
E = .001, and older females (M =72.49), t(61.8) = 5.1,
E < .001. Significant differences were also found between
older females (M = 72.49) and younger males (M = 80.26,
t(63.6) = 2.27, e < *03 (see Table 4-5). Older male and
female subjects seemed to rate casually dressed female
targets similarly on total credibility, as did older and
younger males. Older females rated casually dressed
female targets significantly lower in total credibility
than did younger males and females. It should be noted
that as with conservatively dressed female targets,
younger female subjects rated casually dressed females

68
significantly higher in total credibility than did the
three other subgroups.
Conservatively Dressed Male Targets
Expertise. No significant interaction effects were
found among expertise scores for conservatively dressed
male targets. T-tests conducted between subgroups did
show significant differences: Younger females rated
conservatively dressed male targets significantly higher
in expertise (M = 35.73) than did older males (M = 32.51),
t(67.2) = -2.44, p < .02, and older females (M = 33.23),
t(89) = 2.23, p < .03 (Table 4-6).
Character. A significant two-way interaction between
age and sex was found on the character dimension of
conservatively dressed male targets, F(l, 144) = 8.53,
p = .004. Younger females (M = 30.27) rated
conservatively dressed males higher in character than did
younger males (M = 27.57), t(63.3) = -2.74, p < .01.
Older males (M = 28.39) gave significantly higher
character ratings than did older females (M = 25.07, t(75)
= 2.03, p < .05. Younger females also gave conservatively
dressed males significantly higher character scores (M =
30.27) than did older females (M = 25.07), t(65.0) = 3.58,
P = .001 (see Table 4-6).

69
Table 4-5
Mean Credibility Dimension Scores for Female Targets
According to Dress Condition bv Subject Age and Sex
Male
Subjects
Female
Subjects
Dimension
Older
Younger
Older
Younger
Conservative
Dressed Female Targets
Expertise
SD
34.16
6.0
32.74a
5.6
32.88b
7.0
36.02ab
4.7
Character
SD
29.39a
7.0
28.39b
4.0
26.15ac
7.7
31.08bc
5.5
Dynamism
SD
18.97
4.7
17.87
2.7
17.24a
5.0
19.44a
3.5
Total
credibility
SD
79.97a
17.7
79.0 b
9.5
74.62c
16.9
86.54abc
11.2
Casually Dressed Female
Targets
Expertise
SD
33.97*
6.7
33.04a
5.7
31.98b
5.9
36.19ab*
3.9
Character
SD
28.78a
5.4
28.74b
4.4
26.41c
7.3
31.3labe
5.3
Dynamism
SD
18.22a
4.0
18.48b
2.8
17.80c
4.6
20.27abc
2.9
Total
credibility
SD
77.82a
15.8
80.26bd
10.1
72.49cd
17.6
87.77abc
9.2
Note: Means along dimensions with common subscripts
significantly differ at p < .05 level, two-tailed
probability.
♦Means are different at the p = .057 level.

70
Dynamism. No significant interaction effects were
found among dynamism scores for conservatively dressed
male targets. T-tests run between subgroups found that
younger females gave significantly higher dynamism scores
(M = 20.54) to conservatively dressed male targets than
did older females (M = 18.22), t(72.3) = 2.33, £ = .02.
Older males also gave significantly higher dynamism
ratings (M = 20.33) than did older females (M = 18.22),
t(69.9) = 2.09, £ = .04 (see Table 4-6).
Total credibility. A significant main effect for age
was found among total credibility scores of conservatively
dressed male targets, F(l, 149) = 10.73, £ = .001.
Subsequent t-tests revealed that younger females rated
these targets significantly higher in credibility
(M = 86.54) than did younger males (M = 81.22), t(69) =
-1.97, £ = .05, older males (M = 77.49, t(62.1) = -2.81,
E < .01, and older females (M = 74.51), t(73.4) = 4.07,
£ < .001. Also, younger males (M = 81.22) gave
significantly higher ratings than did older females (M =
74.51), t(63.4) = 2.11, £ < .04 (see Table 4-6). In sum,
younger female subjects rated conservatively dressed male
targets significantly higher in total credibility than did
the other three subgroups.

71
Casually Dressed Male Targets
No significant interaction effects were found for any
of the credibility dimensions for casually dressed male
targets. Subjects seemed to rate male sources in casual
dress similarly on expertise, character, and dynamism.
However, a t-test run between older females and younger
females revealed that younger females gave significantly
higher total credibility scores (M = 85.67) to casually
dressed males than did older females (M = 77.86), t(67.4)
= 2.45, p < .02. Casually dressed male targets seemed to
be equally credible to both younger and older men. A
summary comparison of mean scores for all three dimensions
and total credibility of these targets is found in Table
4-6.
Summary of Research Question Findings
In testing for differences between age groups and sex
of subjects, several trends seemed be evident in this
experiment. Significant interactions between age and sex
were found for most of the analyses done on credibility of
female target sources. In none of the analyses of both
male and female targets' credibility scores did older and
younger men differ from each other in their ratings of
targets.
Younger females gave significantly higher ratings
than did the other groups on all dimensions in separate

72
analyses of casually and conservatively dressed females,
on character and total credibility of conservatively
dressed male targets, on all dimensions of female targets
in general, and on character and total credibility of male
targets in general. Older males and females, those in the
35 and over category, generally did not differ
significantly in their opinions.
The most recurrent and outstanding pattern of
significant differences involving the age and sex
variables was found for older and younger females. In
almost every comparison of mean dimension scores, younger
females gave significantly higher ratings than did older
females. This was most notably evident in ratings of
women sources dressed casually. Younger females seemed to
prefer casually dressed female targets more than the other
groups, in that they consistently gave these targets
significantly higher ratings of expertise, character, and
dynamism. Older females, on the other hand, seemed to
like casually dressed female sources less than did younger
females.
What may be most interesting is that younger females
gave significantly higher ratings than the other three
sample subgroups for casually dressed females, female
targets in general (regardless of dress), and total
credibility of all targets except for casually dressed

73
Table 4-6
Mean Credibility Dimension Scores for Male Targets
According to Dress Condition bv Subject Age and Sex
Male
Subjects
Female
Subjects
Dimension
Older
Younger
Older
Younger
Conservatively Dressed Male Targets
Expertise
SD
32.51a
6.9
33.48
5.0
33.23b
5.7
35.73ab
5.0
Character
SD
28.39a
6.0
27.57b
3.2
25.07ac
8.0
30.27be
5.0
Dynamism
SD
20.33a
3.5
20.17
3.1
18.22ab
5.3
20.54b
3.9
Total
credibility
SD
77.49a
17.4
81.22 bd
9.5
74.5led
16.3
86.54abc
11.2
Casually
Dressed Male
Targets
Expertise
SD
34.56
6.0
33.3
5.9
33.88
6.0
35.27
5.3
Character
SD
30.19
7.5
28.78
4.0
28.0
7.8
29.79
5.0
Dynamism
SD
19.57
3.4
19.70
3.6
19.02
6.2
20.60
3.6
Total
credibility
SD
81.77
17.3
81.78
11.5
77.86a
18.1
85.67a
10.9
Note: Means along dimensions with common subscripts
significantly differ at p < .05 level, two-tailed
probability.

74
males. It could be concluded that among the subjects,
those who were college-aged women tended to give higher
ratings to all targets, especially those female targets in
casual dress, though these ratings were not significantly
higher in all instances.
Do males and females and older and younger people
differ in the way they rate credibility of sources? Based
on the results presented above, the answer would be a
resounding Myes." While men tended to behave similarly in
their rating of target sources, the most prominent
findings show that older and younger females differed in
the way they rated credibility of differently dressed
targets, regardless of target sex or dress condition.
Credibility of Dummy Sources
The final experiment's focus was on male and female
target sources who appeared in different modes of dress.
Dummy sources, those who appeared in neutral dress, were
placed before each target to serve as distractions. In
order to provide a thorough examination of the effects
that a source's sex and appearance may have on how others
rate his or her credibility, several analyses were
conducted concerning the dummy sources appearing in the
videotape stimulus.
First, Hypothesis One was again tested to see if male
and female dummy sources were rated differently in terms

75
of credibility. The effects of subject age and sex on
ratings of these sources were also tested through two-way
analyses of variance using the multiple analysis of
variance (MANOVA) procedure conducted for male and female
dummy sources' expertise, character, dynamism, and total
credibility. T-tests again were used to probe differences
between cell means.
Male vs. Female Dummy Sources
Composite female dummy scores by sex were obtained by
combining both female dummies' credibility scores, and the
scores of male dummies. T-tests conducted between male
and female dummy means on the three credibility dimensions
and total credibility scores uncovered no significant
differences. All subjects rated male and female dummy
sources similarly on expertise, character, dynamism, and
total credibility (see Table 4-7) .
Female Dummy Sources
Expertise. No significant interaction or main
effects were found for subject age or sex for the
expertise dimension of female dummy sources. Subsequent
t-tests did reveal that scores given by young females to
female dummy sources (M = 34.56) were significantly higher
than those given by younger males (M = 32.43), t(69) =
-2.01, p < .05, and older females (M = 32.02), t(89) =
2.73, p < .01 (see Table 4-8).

76
Character. A significant two-way interaction was
found between subject age and sex for the character
dimension of female dummy sources at the e < .05 level,
F (1, 144) = 4.09. Younger females (M = 30.63) gave
significantly higher character scores to female dummy
sources than did younger males (M = 28.17), t(69) = -2.26,
E = -03), and older females (M = 26.66), t(58.5) = 2.81,
E < .01 (see Table 4-8).
Dynamism. No significant interaction or main effects
were found among dynamism scores of female dummy sources.
Subsequent t-test probing failed to reveal any differences
between subgroups (see Table 4-8).
Total credibility. A significant main effect for
subject age was found among total credibility scores of
female dummy sources, F(l, 149) = 6.35, e = -01. Younger
females (M = 82.44) gave significantly higher total
credibility scores to female dummies than did younger
males (M = 77.63), t(69) = -2.02, e < .05, older males (M
= 75.32), t(62.4) = -2.46, e < .02, and older females (M =
73.19), t(66.5) = 3.09, E = -003 (see Table 4-8).
Male Dummy Sources
Expertise. A significant main effect for age was
found on the expertise dimension of male dummy sources,
F(1, 149) = 3.77, e = .05. The only two subgroups to
differ in their ratings were older and younger females.

77
Table 4-7
Mean Credibilitv Dimension
Scores for Male and
Female
Dummv Sources
Dummy Sources
Credibility Dimension
Males
Females
Expertise
32.887
32.891
SD
5.1
4.9
Character
28.09
28.71
SD
5.2
5.7
Dynamism
17.13
17.44
SD
3.0
3.4
Total Credibility
76.39
77.05
SD
12.5
14.1
Younger females (M = 34.41) rated male dummies
significantly higher on expertise than did older females
(M = 31.4), t(89) = 3.05, p = .003 (see Table 4-8).
Character. A two-way analysis of variance revealed
significant interaction effects for subject age and sex on
the character dimension of male dummy sources,
F(l, 145) = 8.0, p = .005. Subsequent t-tests revealed
differences within age groups (see Table 4-8). Older
males (M = 28.51) gave significantly higher character
ratings to male dummies than did older females (M =
25.46), t(76) = 2.17, p = .03. Younger females (M =

78
29.69) gave significantly higher character ratings than
did younger males (M = 27.61), t(69) = -1.97, p = .05).
Older and younger females differed in their opinions of
male dummy sources. Younger females (M = 29.69) gave
significantly higher character ratings to male dummies
than did older females (M = 25.46), t(87), = 3.85,
P < .001 (see Table 4-8).
Dynamism. No significant interaction or main effects
were found for dynamism of male dummies. No significant
differences between subgroups were revealed by subsequent
t-tests.
Total credibility. A two-way interaction between
subject age and sex on total credibility of male dummies
was found at the p < .05 level, F(l, 149) = 4.04. Younger
females (M = 81.28) gave significantly higher total
credibility scores to male dummies than did older females
(M = 71.31), t(89) = 4.3, p < .001. Older females (M =
71.31) gave significantly lower ratings to male dummies
than did younger males (M = 77.57), t(64.0) = 2.56,
P = .01 (see Table 4-8). In short, older females rated
male dummies significantly lower in overall credibility
than did younger people of both sexes.
Summary of Dummy Source Findings
Results for these sources generally reflected those
found for target sources. The credibility ratings given

79
by the total sample to the two male dummy sources combined
did not significantly differ from the ratings given to the
two female dummy sources combined. In terms of Hypothesis
One, then, male dummies were not rated significantly
higher in credibility than were female dummies.
Patterns of significant differences between sample
subgroups based on age and sex were similar to those found
among ratings of target sources. Significant differences
between mean credibility scores given by younger and older
females were found for expertise, character, and total
credibility of female dummies.
Younger and older females also differed in their
ratings of male dummies' expertise, character, and total
credibility. Ratings of male and female dummy source
dynamism given by older and younger females were not
significantly different.
Several instances of differences between younger
females and younger males were also found for ratings of
female target sources, and on character scores of male
dummies. When compared to both older females and younger
males, younger females gave significantly higher scores.
Indeed, across all analyses of dummy sources, younger
females tended to give the highest ratings.
It should also be noted that while older and younger
males did not differ in their ratings of male and female

80
target sources, the same was true for their ratings of
male and female dummy sources. No significant differences
in ratings given by older and younger male subjects were
revealed in any of the analyses involving the sources
appearing in the videotape stimulus.
Additional Analyses
Because the two groups which comprised the final
experimental sample came from different sources, one being
composed mainly of college students, the other of adults
having different education levels, there was a concern
that education level may have been a confounding factor in
the interactions found between subject subgroups. To
investigate the effect of education level of subjects on
their ratings of target sources, one-way analysis ot
variance tests were conducted among both male and female
subjects in the civic organization sample (n = 89) for
targets in different dress conditions based on education
levels. This was basically a repetition of the research
question analyses, with education level substituted for
age and sex.
Four levels of education were created from the six
possible responses on the questionnaire: (1) completion
of high school, (2) completion of some college and
vocational or trade school, (3) completion of a bachelor's
degree, and (4) formal education beyond college or

81
Table 4-8
Mean Credibility Dimension Scores for Male and Female
Dummy Sources by Subject Age and Sex
Male
Subjects
Female
Subjects
Dimension
Older
Younger
Older
Younger
Male
Dummy Sources
Expertise
SD
32.80
5.9
33.04
4.4
31.40a
5.3
34.41a
4.1
Character
SD
28.51a
6.5
27.61b
3.4
25.46ac
5.9
29.69bc
4.5
Dynamism
SD
17.58
3.0
16.91
2.4
16.61
3.7
17.27
2.6
Total
credibility
SD
75.71
15.8
77.57a
6.9
71.3lab
12.9
81.28b
9.0
Female Dummy Sources
Expertise
SD
32.65
5.5
32.44a
4.2
32.02b
4.7
34.56ab
4.2
Character
SD
28.31
6.1
28.17a
4.0
26.66b
7.9
30.63ab
4.4
Dynamism
SD
17.61
3.3
17.02
2.4
17.13
4.2
17.48
3.5
Total
credibility
SD
75.32a
15.6
77.63b
7.6
73.19c
17.2
82.44abc
10.1
Note: Means along dimensions with common subscripts
significantly differ at p < .05 level, two-tailed
probability.

82
completion of a graduate degree. One-way analyses of
variance comparing subjects in the four education levels,
regardless of age group or sex revealed no significant
differences in the way they rated target sources. Thus,
it was concluded that education level was probably not the
main source of variance among older and younger subjects
in the combined sample of 165 subjects.
The relationship between younger and older female
subjects borne out by the recurring pattern of significant
differences between these groups posed some concern to the
researcher. Why did younger females consistently give
significantly higher ratings to target sources than did
older females? And why did these two groups differ so
much in their opinions of sources while older and younger
males did not significantly differ at all? To try and
answer these questions, additional analyses concerning the
women in the civic organization sample were conducted. It
was thought that since most of the younger women subjects
were from the college-student sample, perhaps the mere
fact that more younger female subjects were in college
could account for the findings.
To see if younger and older women from the civic
organization sample also differed in their ratings of
target sources, women from the Orlando sample were put
into two categories: younger (18-44) and older (45 and

83
over). The younger category was extended to included
those women aged 35 to 44 because so few women were
between the ages of 18 and 34 (n = 8) . There were only 10
women between 18 and 44, while 35 were 45 years old or
older. T-tests were run between the two age groups to see
if younger women from this sample differed from older
women on the same dependent variables based on target sex
and dress condition used in answering the research
questions.
No significant differences were revealed between
scores given by younger women and those given by older
women, except on the character dimension of conservatively
dressed males. The older women in the Orlando sample gave
significantly lower ratings of character to conservatively
dressed male sources (M = 23.73) than did the younger
women (M = 27.0), t(40.6) = 2.12, p = .04. However,
scores given by older women, those 45 and older, were
lower than those given by women in the 18-44 age group for
23 of the 32 comparisons made. Though these differences
were not significant, they did not contradict the trend
found in the results which showed younger females giving
higher ratings than did older females.

CHAPTER 6
DISCUSSION
This study investigated the relationship between
variations of a communicator's appearance and perceptions
of his or her credibility, and how a message receiver's
age and sex may affect those perceptions. This was done
by creating videotaped interviews in which male and female
sources, posing as college professors, appeared in casual
and conservative modes of dress. After viewing these
sources, subjects were asked to rate their credibility in
terms of expertise, character, and dynamism.
General Implications
Male target sources were predicted to receive
significantly higher ratings of credibility than female
target sources. This prediction was not wholly supported
by the findings: Males were not rated significantly
higher in expertise, character, or total credibility than
were females, but males were rated significantly more
dynamic than females.
One explanation for this finding is that the female
sources were less dynamic in their performances than the
men. Specifically, one of the female targets was rated
significantly lower in dynamism than both male targets,
84

85
regardless of dress condition. The same target was also
rated significantly lower in dynamism than her female
counterpart when both were dressed conservatively. This
illustrates a potential disadvantage of using
nonprofessional actors in an experimental stimulus.
Overall, however, the female target sources were
considered to be less dynamic than the male target
sources. Dynamism, as measured in this study, included
characteristics such as aggressiveness and boldness—
traits which have traditionally been regarded as more
appropriate for men than for women (Richardson, 1988).
This general societal expectation for men to be more
aggressive and bold may have influenced the way subjects
rated the sexes on this dimension. That is, subjects may
have expected the male sources to be higher in dynamism
than the female sources and rated them as such, thus
creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Researchers of
future studies could further explore this aspect of sex
differences in source perception.
While the performances by the female targets in this
study were rated less dynamic than those given by the men,
of more importance concerning the societal implications of
the findings for Hypothesis One is that both sexes were
considered by subjects to be equal in expertise and
character. Previous research has demonstrated that

86
competent women are more likely to be devalued in serious,
realistic contexts and when evaluations of them are
salient to raters, such as in hiring situations (Lott,
1985). In this study, subjects watched a television
program and rated the people they saw; there were no
interpersonal contacts with the actors and no real
conseguences to the subjects as a result of their ratings.
Hence, it may have been that women sources were not rated
as being different in credibility than were men because
there were no serious consequences for the subjects.
Another possible explanation for the lack of
differences between male and female sources is social
desirability. The people in this study may have wanted to
rate the male and female sources equally because they did
not want to appear sexist. An awareness of "politically
correct" attitudes toward women may have influenced some
people's opinions, especially those in college. In
addition, the fact that the researcher was a woman may
have sensitized the subjects enough for them to rate both
sexes equally.
While these explanations are all plausible, what the
results may truly imply is that the stereotype of women as
being less competent than men is changing. In this study,
equal credentials yielded equal evaluations; the women
professors and men professors were rated the same in terms

87
of their expertise and character. What is most telling is
that women were thought to be just as intelligent, bright,
informed, trained, competent, and expert as men.
The general societal bias against women which was the
basis for the first hypothesis did not appear here.
Neither did the expectation that differences in the
clothing of female sources would lead to differences in
their credibility. It was predicted that when female
sources were dressed in casual clothing (a knit top and
slacks) rather than in conservative clothing (a suit and
blouse), they would be rated significantly lower in
credibility.
This was not supported by the findings: Women were
rated equally credible whether dressed casually or
conservatively. The "wardrobe engineering" as propagated
in books which provide women with fashion advice as to
what they should wear in order to be successful is called
into question by the results of this study. Molloy (1977)
asserts that, among other types of clothes, "sweaters,
slacks, skirt and blouse outfits...all announce that you
have no ambition" (p. 125). The "dress for success" look,
conservative suits and accessories such as collars that
tie, which was prescribed to women who wanted to look
ambitious and competent, did not significantly enhance
subjects' ratings of women in this experiment.

88
The importance of appearance as a factor of source
credibility was also predicted to be more salient to
female sources than to male sources. It was hypothesized
that differences in ratings of expertise, character, and
dynamism between dress conditions of women would be larger
than those of men. This was not borne out by the results.
In fact, for the character dimension, men were rated
higher in character when they wore casual clothing (a
shirt and jeans) than when they wore conservative clothing
(a suit and tie).
Upon closer examination, this difference in character
ratings was found to occur mainly among the older people
in the study. This anti-suit-and-tie attitude on the part
of older subjects, those 35 and older, may have been a
function of the topic presented—marine biology—and of
the identification of the experts as being professors of
zoology. Perhaps older people had a stereotype of college
professors who studied marine biology. It may be that
they trusted sources who better fit the image of an expert
in marine biology—someone who dressed as if he actually
worked with marine animals or out of doors. A suit and
tie may not have fit that image, and subsequently male
targets dressed that way may not have been rated higher on
character.

89
Another possible explanation for this is that the
business suit, at least for men, carries with it certain
connotations, such as authority and bureaucracy. The suit
and tie is the acceptable form of dress for professions
involving politics, government, banking, and the like. On
the other hand, casual clothes such as blue jeans do not
imply such meanings. At least for the older people in
this study, men dressed in jeans seemed more honest,
trustworthy, sympathetic, and virtuous—all indications of
higher character—than those dressed in suits. This
implies a negative stereotype of the business suit for
men, at least in terms of the character of the wearer.
Future studies into the meanings associated with such
clothing would provide information concerning reasons for
the distrust of suits implied by these results.
The findings for the hypotheses show that at least
for experts who are college professors of zoology, dress
does not greatly affect the credibility of sources who are
both seen and heard. The context within which the
stimulus interviews were conducted may be related to
practices used in television news programming. The
sources were seen on television and were identified as
being professors of zoology by a graphic. News coverage
by television reporters often includes soundbites, or
interviews, with people who are deemed experts on the

90
particular topic of a story. Often, these experts are
interviewed at their place of work. College professors,
scientists, and other similar experts may appear in such
interviews in their everyday work clothes—and this often
does not include formal attire. Subjects may have
expected the experts who appeared in the interviews to
wear clothes they would wear to work. With the exception
of the differences in character ratings for differently
dressed men, it may be that the experts in this study were
so fluent in their presentations that their dress was not
distracting. That is, the subjects focused more on what
the experts were saying than on what the experts were
wearing. Therefore, the effects of different dress styles
were not as great as predicted, especially for women
sources.
Several noteworthy trends were found regarding the
influence of subjects' age and sex on their ratings of
sources. Female subjects between the ages of 18 and 34
tended to give high credibility ratings to all targets,
regardless of targets' sex or appearance. Younger females
differed from younger males in many of their ratings of
sources, with younger females giving significantly higher
ratings. This supports previous research which showed
that college-age women tended to give more generous

91
ratings of expertise, character, and dynamism to others
than did college-age men (Carocci, 1988).
Significant differences between subjects were most
pronounced for total credibility scores of female targets,
and for casually dressed females in particular. Younger
females seemed to like and gave significantly higher
ratings to women dressed casually than did older females
and older and younger males. This may be an indication of
a pro-female bias on the part of younger women, in that
they may be more favorable to professional women and may
even consider them to be role models. Richardson (1988)
asserts that there is a lack of female professors to serve
as role models for women in college. It may be, too, that
college women have higher regard for women professors and
identify more with them than do college men.
In contrast to younger women, older women tended to
give the lowest credibility ratings. This trend was
especially pronounced among ratings given by older females
to female targets. Perhaps the older women—away from a
campus atmosphere—were less concerned about appearing
sexist or "politically correct" than were the younger
women who might have been exposed to such concerns
regularly on campus.
The finding that older females gave low ratings to
casually dressed females compared to younger females

92
supports previous research which showed that older women
tended to have less favorable impressions of sloppily or
casually dressed stimulus females (Lambert, 1972). These
findings seem to reinforce the notion that older females
have more conservative (or less liberal) attitudes toward
dress styles and fashion, especially concerning other
women.
Older females also gave low ratings to conservatively
dressed female targets. Perhaps the older women in this
study found female targets lower in credibility than did
the younger women because of the age of the targets. All
four female sources appeared to be under the age of 45,
while most of the older women subjects were over that age.
These targets may not have seemed old enough to be
credible experts to these subjects. Perhaps this
reasoning could also be applied to the finding that older
women also rated conservatively dressed male targets lower
in credibility than did younger women. It could be that
age of the targets was a more important factor to older
women in determining credibility than it was to younger
women.
It was hoped at the onset of this study that its
findings would help producers of informational programs,
such as those produced at the local level and by public
television stations, to enhance the credibility of their

93
programs and of the experts who appear as guests. This
study did not find that the dress of an expert affects
ratings of his or her expertise. The experts in this
study—college professors—were rated equally competent
dressed in conservative or casual attire. However, for
male experts, a suit seemed to detract from their ratings
of character. Older people showed a preference, in terms
of trust, for male sources who were dressed in jeans
rather than in a suit and tie.
As for women who appear as sources on such programs,
dress should not affect perceptions of their credibility.
However, this might not hold true for older female
viewers, who rated casually dressed women experts
significantly lower in character than did the other
subjects.
In sum, the findings suggest that the credibility of
guest experts will not be severely damaged if they wear on
television the type of informal clothing they would wear
in a laboratory or other work site. The wearing of more
formal attire, specifically the conservative dark blue
suit, did not result in higher ratings of credibility for
women or for men.
Limitations and Considerations
As with any social science experiment, this study was
prone to threats to internal and external validity. These

94
include factors within the experimental procedure which
may affect the validity of the results (internal
validity), and those which may limit the generalizability
of the experimental findings (external validity) (Babbie,
1986).
Internal Validity
There was a certain amount of control over the
isolation of the experimental variables of source sex and
dress. Pretests were conducted to ensure that: (1) the
topics presented were of similar interest; (2) the actors
chosen were believable as experts and similar in physical
attractiveness; and (3) the clothing conditions were
perceived to be significantly different. Reliability and
validity of the instrument and the scales used to measure
the credibility of sources were established by using
reliability and factor analyses.
Despite such precautions, some possible factors which
may have affected the integrity of the results should be
noted. As discussed earlier, social desirability on the
part of the subjects may have affected the way they rated
male and female subjects.
Several subjects in the civic organization sample
commented that it was difficult for them to assess some
source characteristics because the interview segments did
not give them enough time to develop opinions about

95
sources on some variables. Thus, some evaluations may
have not been adequately thought out, and consequently
some ratings may not represent opinions the subjects would
have held with longer exposure to the targets.
Concerning the assumptions required for the analysis
of variance procedures used, random assignment of subjects
to the four experimental conditions was used to make sure
that the sample population contained independent random
samples. However, lack of homogeneity of variance among
the sample subgroups was found in a majority of the
analysis of variance tests (using the Bartlett's box
statistical procedure) (Keppel, 1972). The major cause of
this may have been the over-representation of women in the
sample, especially college-age women.
External Validity
Some problems with external validity include:
administration of the experiment in a quasi-laboratory
setting, especially true of the college student sample;
and sampling, since a true random sample from the
population was not used. One factor which helps the
generalizability of this study's findings is the use of
subjects garnered from outside the typical university
convenience sample.
The expert sources in this study represented the
education profession. The results of this study may not

96
carry over to other professions. It could be that people,
especially college students, have a greater latitude of
acceptance toward the appearance of college professors,
since there is no universal dress code for this
profession. In professions where appearance is important,
such as broadcasting, variations in dress can make a
difference. For example, dress affected how people rated
television anchorwomen, in that conservative clothing
enhanced their credibility (Harp et al., 1985).
The topics used in the segment interviews, all of
which concerned marine biology, were rather innocuous in
nature; the experts did not intend to persuade subjects.
If different topics had been used, that is, ones which
were highly controversial or salient to the viewer, the
results might have been different. If subjects were ego-
involved with the topic, they might pay more attention to
the source. If the source was advocating a position
opposite to that of a subject, his or her perceived
credibility might be lower than that of a source in favor
of that position.
Suggestions for Future Research
In future studies concerning dress and its effects
on source credibility, what should first be ascertained is
whether or not the profession of the source has a
corresponding stereotype—that is, are there expectations

97
of appearance for certain professions? If so, then
deviations from those expectations could be assessed. It
would be especially interesting to see whether the effects
of appearance may differ for male and female members of
particular professions. As Scherbaum and Shepherd (1987)
found, women in the business world have more latitude than
men in what they can wear. Studies along this vein could
investigate how different rules or codes of dress are
applied to the sexes within professions, and how judgments
of their competence may be affected by violations of these
rules.
In addition, opinions regarding the credibility of
college professors in general could be studied, and the
information gained could serve as an explanation for
effects that factors such as appearance may or may not
have on perceptions of their credibility.
The finding regarding older people's distrust of male
sources who appeared in suits provides additional
questions of the effects of dress on social judgments.
Most notably, is there a negative stereotype of
professionals who wear suits? If so, is this also applied
to women who wear suits? One profession which might
benefit from this type of research is public service
(i.e., politics). Candidates who wish to gain the trust
of voters might find that wearing more casual clothing

98
enhances perceptions of their character. The difference
between clothing of male and female candidates and
subsequent effects on ratings of trust is another possible
research topic.
The most interesting findings of this study concerned
the differences between subjects based on their age and
sex. Especially intriguing was the trend which showed
younger women in college giving the most generous
credibility ratings to sources, and differing so much with
the older women in this study's sample. Among the factors
that could be examined are older women's attitudes toward
other women, especially those in the academic profession,
and their attitudes toward younger women in general. This
research would provide a more detailed picture of how
women regard other women, and how these attitudes develop
or change over time.
Though education levels of the subjects in this study
were varied, most of the younger men and women were
enrolled in college during the time of the experiment.
While post hoc analysis showed no significant differences
among the civic organization subjects based on education
levels, future studies could include a more balanced
subject pool regarding education. In future studies,
education level of subjects could be an additional

99
variable used in assessing differences in people's ratings
of source credibility.
The effects a source's age has on his or her
credibility could also be studied more extensively. The
combination of age and sex as source factors would provide
more evidence for societal attitudes regarding the way men
and women are perceived in terms of their credibility as
experts. For instance, an increase in age may result in
an increase in credibility for one sex but not for the
other.
Situational factors which may limit the
generalization of this study's findings, such as source
profession and topic, may also include the geographic
region in which the study was conducted. Therefore,
replication in other regions is suggested. Cash (1985)
found that grooming styles of female job applicants were
rated differently depending on the geographic region in
which his study was conducted. The present experiment was
conducted in Florida, where climactic conditions and
casual lifestyles, such as those of retired people and
students, may influence clothing attitudes. Such
attitudes may be different in other areas of the country.
Subjects' opinions of the sources in this study were
measured by a questionnaire containing semantic-
differential scales which assessed perceptions of

100
credibility. In future studies, subjects could also be
asked questions as to why they rated stimulus persons the
way they did. Free-answer responses would give
researchers additional information as to the reasons for
evaluations given by different demographic groups such as
those based on age and sex.
Finally, the lack of differences between overall
ratings of credibility of the men and women sources in
this study provides some indication that women and men
with the same job title in the academic profession are
viewed as equally competent. Research of this type could
focus on how men and women in other professions and
specific occupations are viewed in terms of credibility.
Future researchers may find that stereotypes which hold
that women are less able than men are changing, and in
some professions may even be disappearing.

APPENDIX A
QUESTIONAIRE FOR PRETEST 1: TOPIC INTEREST
Ratings of Talk Show Topics
This is part of a study of television talk shows. We
thank you for your time and attention. You are going to
read 16 topics presented in a television interview. After
reading each topic, please rate it according to how
interesting you think that topic is. Put an X in the
blank whose number best describes your opinion.
Here is what the numbers mean:
1—extremely interesting
2—somewhat interesting
3—a little interesting
4—neither especially interesting nor especially
boring
5—a little boring
6—somewhat boring
7—extremely boring
Please do not use check marks, and please put an X only in
one blank, not between two blanks.
101

102
Segment Topic 1: BLUE WHALE
INTERVIEWER: How big are blue whales?
SOURCE: Well, first I have to point out that blue
whales—besides being the largest animals to live in the
ocean—are also the largest animals to ever inhabit the
earth...bigger even than the dinosaurs. As for actual
size measurements, a typical blue whale can grow as long
as 105 feet... and there are a few that have been
estimated to weigh close to 150 tons. Now we might think
that because they are so huge, they wouldn't be able to
swim very fast. Actually, their average speed is about
six to 12 miles an hour...but they can swim as fast as 24
miles an hour...and maintain that speed for up to ten
minutes at a time.
Interesting
1 2
Boring
3 4 5 6 7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what it is:

103
Segment Topic 2: PENGUIN
INTERVIEWER: How widely scattered is the world's penguin
population?
SOURCE: Most of us think of penguins as living just at
the South Pole. But the fact is that penguins also live
in other areas in the southern hemisphere such as the
southern coasts of Africa, South America, Australia, and
New Zealand. But there's only one species of penguin that
lives above the equator...in the Galapagos Islands off the
coast of South America... and even there the water is very
cold. Luckily, penguins have three features that help
them live in such cold waters. First, they have a thick
layer of fat that acts as insulation. Second, their
feathers are very dense, and look almost like fur. And
finally, penguins have short legs and wings, which help
them maintain internal body heat.
Interesting
12 3 4
Boring
5 6 7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what it is:

104
Segment Topic 3: BELUGA WHALE
INTERVIEWER; Where do most beluga whales live?
SOURCE; Well, the beluga whale shows an unusual tolerance
for shallow water, and it seems to prefer coastal areas
rather than the open ocean. In fact, belugas are mostly
found in areas close to land near the North Pole. They
have been sighted along the northern coasts of Russia,
Alaska, Greenland, and Norway. And there's a rather large
population of beluga whales in Hudson Bay in Canada.
There have been sightings of beluga whales as far south as
New Jersey. Population-wise, there are about 18-thousand
beluga whales in the coastal areas of North America...and
about 30-thousand in the northern seas along Russia. And
several thousand are estimated to live in Hudson Bay
itself.
Interesting
1 2
Boring
3 4 5 6 7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what it is:

105
Segment Topic 4: POLAR BEAR
INTERVIEWER; What kinds of things do polar bears eat?
SOURCE: Though polar bears are very large, and we might
think they hunt only larger animals in the North Pole, you
might be surprised to know that their diet contains some
rather ordinary things. They mainly eat a variety of
foods, both meat and plants. They eat fish and sometimes
even birds. In the summer months, they often can find
some seaweed and berries. Polar bears have a more
streamlined shape than other bears, but they can't dive
long distances to search for food. When they are able to
catch bigger animals, such as seals, they usually have to
sneak up on them because they wouldn't be able to catch
them by swimming.
Interesting
1 2 3 4 5 6
Boring
7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what it is:

106
Segment Topic 5: SEA OTTER
INTERVIEWER: What makes sea otters different from other
kinds of marine mammals?
SOURCE: Well, first of all, they're the smallest type of
marine mammal—usually only about three to four feet long.
They also use tools, something that was once thought to be
only a human trait. They'll use stones to break open
clams while feeding. The way they do this is to put flat
stones on their stomach and smash open the shells while
swimming on their back. Another thing that makes them
different from other marine mammals is that they don't
have a layer of blubber. Instead, they have a thick layer
of fur which protects them from the cold. They also have
a very high metabolism rate...so they generate enough heat
to survive in cold water.
Interesting
12 3 4
Boring
5 6 7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what it is:

107
Segment Topic 6: DOLPHIN
INTERVIEWER: What is the difference between a dolphin and
a porpoise?
SOURCE: Well, both terms have been used to describe the
same types of animals. What we would normally think of as
a dolphin could also be called a porpoise. The word
"dolphin" comes from an old Greek name which implies a
feeling of light and grace...while the word "porpoise"
means "sea pig." In common usage, the word dolphin
usually refers to small whales that have beaks, such as
the bottle-nose dolphin...and the word porpoise would
refer to the same kind of animal with a more blunt head.
However, even with this distinction both terms have been
applied to animals that look very similar.
Interesting
1 2 3 4 5
Boring
6 7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what it is:

108
Segment Topic 7: SEA BIRDS
INTERVIEWER: What makes marine birds different from birds
we would see on land?
SOURCE: Because these kinds of birds live in and around
the water, they have to be able to stay on the water for
long periods of time...so they have more oil on their
feathers than land-based birds...and this makes them more
water-resistant. Also, they have more air sacs in their
bodies, which makes them float better. However, birds
that stay underwater for long periods of time have heavier
bones than most birds. Another thing that's very
important is eyesight—birds that do a lot of diving for
their food have special features that help them focus
their eyes underwater so they can see more clearly.
Interesting
1 2
Boring
3 4 5 6 7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what it is:

109
Segment Topic 8: HARBOR SEAL
INTERVIEWER: How long can harbor seals stay underwater
without air?
SOURCE: Well, since harbor seals start to swim as soon as
they are born, it's not surprising to know that they can
stay underwater for as long as two minutes when they're
only two or three days old. In fact, when they're just 10
days old they can stay underwater for about eight minutes.
And when they get a little older, harbor seals can stay
underwater for an average of three minutes at a time. The
longest recorded dive by a harbor seal is 13 minutes. On
the average, though, harbor seals usually can stay
submerged for about three minutes.
Interesting
12 3 4
Boring
5 6 7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what it is:

110
Segment Topic 9: ELEPHANT SEAL
INTERVIEWER: We would guess that elephant seals get their
name because of their large size. Just how big can they
get?
SOURCE: When they are born, both male and female elephant
seals are about the same size. After they reach maturity,
however, there is a big difference in size between the
sexes. At full maturity, male elephant seals can grow to
about 15 feet long. But females grow to only half that
length—about seven feet long. Also, there is a very big
difference in weight. Most research shows that male
elephant seals weigh about 10 times more than females.
This size difference is true of elephant seals in both the
northern and southern hemispheres.
Interesting
1 2 3 4 5
Boring
6 7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what it is:

Ill
Segment Topic 10: WALRUS
INTERVIEWER: What is the natural habitat of the walrus?
SOURCE: The walrus lives only in the northern hemisphere,
mainly in the areas around the North Pole. So, you won't
see any walruses living in the open seas. Walruses mainly
live on moving packs of ice over shallow waters relatively
close to land. Walruses seem to prefer making the ice
their home, where they can rest and bear their young. The
deepest the water gets in these areas is about 200 feet,
and walruses have been known to dive that deep for food.
However, they do most of their feeding in water that's
only about 30 to 100 feet deep.
Interesting
1 2 3 4 5
Boring
6 7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what it is:

112
Segment topic 11: MARINE MAMMAL ADAPTATION
INTERVIEWER: What are some things that make marine
mammals well-suited for living in the ocean?
SOURCE: First of all, marine mammals, such as whales,
dolphins, and seals, frequently must dive in deep waters
to get food. These animals have special features that
help them stay underwater for long periods of time. One
of these is the large amount of blood they have, which
carries oxygen to vital organs, such as the heart, lungs,
and brain. Larger animals, such as whales, can stay
underwater for very long periods of time. For example,
some whales can stay underwater for up to an hour and a
half at a time...and can dive as far down as 13-thousand
feet.
Interesting
1 2 3 4 5
Boring
6 7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what it is:

113
Segment topic 12: SEA SNAKES
INTERVIEWER: How many kinds of sea snakes are there and
how are they different from snakes that live on land?
SOURCE: About 50 different types of snakes live in the
ocean. They are mostly found in shallow waters of the
Pacific and Indian Oceans. These snakes are related to
cobras and coral snakes and are usually extremely
poisonous. But here is where the similarity ends. Sea
snakes are different from their relatives on land because
they have adapted to living in the water. This can be
seen by their flat-shaped heads, which help them swim
better. Also, recent findings have shown that some sea
snakes can absorb oxygen through their skin, which
explains why they can stay underwater for a long time.
Interesting
1 2 3 4 5
Boring
6 7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what it is:

114
Segment topic 13: LEATHERBACK TURTLE
INTERVIEWER: What makes the Pacific leatherback turtle
different from other sea turtles?
SOURCE: Several important features make the leatherback
interesting to study. First, it is the largest sea
turtle. The average adult is about five to eight feet
long and can weigh up to a thousand pounds. In fact, some
giant leatherback turtles have been found that were 10
feet long and weighed close to a ton. Another feature of
the leatherback is the loud, often terrifying, noises they
make when attacked or hurt. Also, the leatherback can be
extremely dangerous if provoked... some leatherbacks have
even been known to attack small boats.
Interesting
1 2 3 4 5
Boring
6 7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what it is:

115
Segment topic 14: ECHO-LOCATION
INTERVIEWER: What is echo-location and how does it work?
SOURCE: Echo-location is a kind of sonar that many marine
mammals use to communicate with each other and to find out
about their environment. Dolphins use echo-location by
producing clicking sounds which travel as sound waves
underwater. These sound waves bounce back when they hit
an object, and these reflected waves give the animal an
idea of how big that object is and how far away it is.
Dolphins use both high-pitched and low-pitched sounds to
find out where they are and what kinds of animals are in
the area. Sperm whales also use echo-location, and can
locate squid thousands of feet underwater.
Interesting
1 2 3 4 5 6
Boring
7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what it is:

116
Segment topic 15: MIGRATION
INTERVIEWER: Why do marine mammals travel so far in the
summer and winter?
SOURCE: The migration patterns of marine mammals are in
large part due to the amount of food available during
certain times of the year. Most whales and dolphins "go
south for the winter" because the food supply starts to
get smaller as the weather gets colder. When we look at
how far they migrate, it's interesting to see that some
animals migrate only short distances, while others might
travel thousands of miles. For instance, the gray whale
makes an annual round trip of about 11-thousand miles from
northern Alaska to southern Mexico. We know this because
we can track the gray whale easily, since it travels very
near the Pacific coastline.
Interesting
12 3 4
Boring
5 6 7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what is:

117
Segment topic 16: SEA COWS
INTERVIEWER: Explain for us what exactly sea cows are,
and maybe a general idea of where they live.
SOURCE: The term sea cow refers to manatees and other
similar animals found in the northern and southern
hemispheres. They eat only plants and have no natural
enemies, although alligators sometimes pose some danger to
younger sea cows. As for their natural environment, sea
cows are found only in warm waters. They mostly live in
the Indian Ocean, the Amazon river, and areas in the south
Atlantic. Manatees were discovered in the waters off the
coast of Alaska during the middle 1700s. However, those
manatees belonged to a unique species that later became
extinct.
Interesting Boring
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Is there anything in this that you dislike or disagree
with? If so, tell us what it is:
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR HELP.

APPENDIX B
QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PRETEST 2: TARGET SIMILARITY
Ratings of Talk Show Guests
This is part of a study of television talk shows. We
thank you for your time and attention. You are going to
see 12 people who are quests in a television interview.
After each segment, the tape will be stopped. Please rate
the person on each of the items appearing on each page.
Put an X in the blank whose number best describes your
opinion of that person for each characteristic.
Here is what the numbers mean:
For example, if you are rating a person on the following
scale:
Intelligent Unintelligent
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
the numbers would mean:
1—extremely intelligent
2—somewhat intelligent
3—a little intelligent
4—neither especially intelligent nor especially
unintelligent
5—a little unintelligent
6—somewhat unintelligent
7—extremely unintelligent
Please do not use check marks, and please put an X only on
one blank, not between two blanks.
118

119
Ratings for Guest No. 1
Intelligent
1 2
Unintelligent
3 4 5 6 7
Unattractive
1 2
Attractive
3 4 5 6 7
Trained
1 2
Untrained
3 4 5 6 7
Inexpert
1 2
Expert
3 4 5 6 7
Competent
1 2
Incompetent
3 4 5 6 7
Is there anything in particular you did NOT like about
this guest? If so, please tell us:
Ratings for Guest No. 2
Intelligent
1 2
Unintelligent
3 4 5 6 7
Unattractive
1 2
Attractive
3 4 5 6 7
Trained
1 2
Untrained
3 4 5 6 7
Inexpert
1 2
Expert
3 4 5 6 7
Competent
1 2
Incompetent
3 4 5 6 7
Is there anything in particular you did NOT like about
this guest? If so, please tell us:

120
Ratings for Guest No. 3
Intelligent
1 2
Unintelligent
3 4 5 6 7
Unattractive
1 2
Attractive
3 4 5 6 7
Trained
1 2
Untrained
3 4 5 6 7
Inexpert
1 2
Expert
3 4 5 6 7
Competent
1 2
Incompetent
3 4 5 6 7
Is there anything in particular you did NOT like about
this guest? If so, please tell us:
Ratings for Guest No. 4
Intelligent
1 2
Unintelligent
3 4 5 6 7
Unattractive
1 2
Attractive
3 4 5 6 7
Trained
1 2
Untrained
3 4 5 6 7
Inexpert
1 2
Expert
3 4 5 6 7
Competent
1 2
Incompetent
3 4 5 6 7
Is there anything in particular you did NOT like about
this guest? If so, please tell us:

121
Ratings for Guest No. 5
Intelligent
12 3 4
Unintelligent
5 6 7
Unattractive
12 3 4
Attractive
5 6 7
Trained
12 3 4
Untrained
5 6 7
Inexpert
12 3 4
Expert
5 6 7
Competent
12 3 4
Incompetent
5 6 7
Is there anything in particular you did NOT like about
this guest? If so, please tell us:
Ratings for Guest No. 6
Intelligent
12 3 4
Unintelligent
5 6 7
Unattractive
12 3 4
Attractive
5 6 7
Trained
12 3 4
Untrained
5 6 7
Inexpert
12 3 4
Expert
5 6 7
Competent
12 3 4
Incompetent
5 6 7
Is there anything in particular you did NOT like about
this guest? If so, please tell us:

122
Ratings for Guest No. 7
Intelligent
1 2
Unintelligent
3 4 5 6 7
Unattractive
1 2
Attractive
3 4 5 6 7
Trained
1 2
Untrained
3 4 5 6 7
Inexpert
1 2
Expert
3 4 5 6 7
Competent
1 2
Incompetent
3 4 5 6 7
Is there anything in particular you did NOT like about
this guest? If so, please tell us:
Ratings for Guest No. 8
Intelligent
1 2
Unintelligent
3 4 5 6 7
Unattractive
1 2
Attractive
3 4 5 6 7
Trained
1 2
Untrained
3 4 5 6 7
Inexpert
1 2
Expert
3 4 5 6 7
Competent
1 2
Incompetent
3 4 5 6 7
Is there anything in particular you did NOT like about
this guest? If so, please tell us:

123
Ratings for Guest No. 9
Intelligent
1 2
Unintelligent
3 4 5 6 7
Unattractive
1 2
Attractive
3 4 5 6 7
Trained
1 2
Untrained
3 4 5 6 7
Inexpert
1 2
Expert
3 4 5 6 7
Competent
1 2
Incompetent
3 4 5 6 7
Is there anything in particular you did NOT like about
this guest? If so, please tell us:
Ratings for Guest No. 10
Intelligent
1 2
Unintelligent
3 4 5 6 7
Unattractive
1 2
Attractive
3 4 5 6 7
Trained
1 2
Untrained
3 4 5 6 7
Inexpert
1 2
Expert
3 4 5 6 7
Competent
1 2
Incompetent
3 4 5 6 7
Is there anything in particular you did NOT like about
this guest? If so, please tell us:

124
Ratings for Guest No. 11
Intelligent
12 3 4
Unintelligent
5 6 7
Unattractive
12 3 4
Attractive
5 6 7
Trained
12 3 4
Untrained
5 6 7
Inexpert
12 3 4
Expert
5 6 7
Competent
12 3 4
Incompetent
5 6 7
Is there anything in particular you did NOT like about
this guest? If so, please tell us:
Ratings for Guest No. 12
Intelligent
12 3 4
Unintelligent
5 6 7
Unattractive
12 3 4
Attractive
5 6 7
Trained
12 3 4
Untrained
5 6 7
Inexpert
12 3 4
Expert
5 6 7
Competent
12 3 4
Incompetent
5 6 7
Is there anything in particular you did NOT like about
this guest? If so, please tell us:

W P Ul 4^ U W P í- í* U) t\J H* U) (J1*>.COtOP->N)
125
Please answer the following questions by placing an X in
the appropriate space.
1.) Do you know or recognize any of the guest professors
in the interviews you have just seen? Yes No
.) My major is:
journalism/photojournalism
advertising
public relations
telecommunication
other
.) I am a:
freshman
sophomore
junior
senior
.) My age is:
Between
18
and
24
Between
25
and
34
Between
35
and
44
45 or older
.) My sex is:
Male
Female
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND COOPERATION.
WE APPRECIATE YOUR HELP VERY MUCH.

APPENDIX C
QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PRETEST 3: DRESS CONDITIONS
Ratings of Talk Show Guests
This is part of a study of television talk shows. We
thank you for your time and attention. You are going to
see eight people who are guests in a television interview.
After each segment, the tape will be stopped. Please rate
the person on each of the items appearing on each page.
Put an X in the blank whose number best describes your
opinion of that person for each characteristic.
Here is what the numbers mean:
For example, if you are rating a person on the following
scale:
Professional- Unprofessional¬
looking looking
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
the numbers would mean:
1—extremely professional-looking
2—somewhat professional-looking
3—a little professional-looking
4—neither especially professional nor especially
unprofessional-looking
5—a little unprofessional-looking
6—somewhat unprofessional-looking
7—extremely unprofessional-looking
Please do not use check marks, and please put an X only on
one blank, not between two blanks.
126

127
Ratings for Guest No. 1
Casual
clothing
Conservative
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Professiona1-
looking
Unprofessional-
looking
1
2
Masculine
clothing
2 3 4 5 6 7
Feminine
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Ratings for Guest No. 2
Casual
clothing
Conservative
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Professional¬
looking
Unprofessional-
looking
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Masculine
clothing
Feminine
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7

128
Ratings for Guest No. 3
Casual
clothing
Conservative
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Professional¬
looking
Unprofessional-
looking
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Masculine
clothing
Feminine
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Ratings for Guest No. 4
Casual
clothing
Conservative
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Professional¬
looking
Unprofessional-
looking
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Masculine
clothing
Feminine
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7

129
Ratings for Guest No. 5
Casual
clothing
Conservative
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Professional¬
looking
Unprofessional-
looking
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Masculine
clothing
Feminine
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Ratings for Guest No. 6
Casual
clothing
Conservative
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Professional¬
looking
Unprofessional¬
looking
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Masculine
clothing
Feminine
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7

130
Ratings for Guest No. 7
Casual
clothing
Conservative
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Professional¬
looking
Unprofessional¬
looking
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Masculine
clothing
Feminine
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Ratings for Guest No. 8
Casual
clothing
Conservative
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Professional¬
looking
Unprofessional¬
looking
1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Masculine
clothing
Feminine
clothing
1
2 3 4 5 6 7

131
Please answer the following questions by placing an X in
the appropriate space.
1.) Do you know or recognize any of the guest professors
in the interviews you have just seen? Yes No
2.) My major is:
3.) I
1
2
3
4
am a:
freshman
sophomore
junior
senior
4.) My age is:
1 Between 18 and 24
2 Between 25 and 34
3 Between 35 and 44
4 45 or older
5.) My sex is:
1 Male
2 Female
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND COOPERATION.
WE APPRECIATE YOUR HELP VERY MUCH.

APPENDIX D
QUESTIONNAIRE FOR FINAL EXPERIMENT
Ratings of Talk Show Guests
This is part of a study of television talk shows. We
thank you for your time and attention. You are going to
see eight segments of a television interview. After each
segment, the tape will be stopped. Each page concerns a
single segment. Please rate the guest on each of the
items appearing on each page. Put an X in the blank whose
number best describes your opinion of that guest for each
characteristic.
Here is what the numbers mean:
For example, if you are rating a guest on the following
scale:
Intelligent Unintelligent
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
the numbers would mean:
1—extremely intelligent
2—somewhat intelligent
3—a little intelligent
4—neither especially intelligent nor especially
unintelligent
5—a little unintelligent
6—somewhat unintelligent
7—extremely unintelligent
Please do not use check marks, and please put an X only on
one blank, not between two blanks.
132

133
Ratings for Guest No. 1
Intelligent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unintelligent
Untrained
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Trained
Expert
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Inexpert
Informed
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Uninformed
Incompetent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Competent
Bright
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stupid
Virtuous
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Sinful
Dishonest
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Honest
Selfish
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unselfish
Sympathetic
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unsympathetic
High
character
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Low
character
Trustworthy
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Untrustworthy
Meek
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Aggressive
Bold
1
2
3
4"
5
6
7
Timid
Tired
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Energetic
Extroverted
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Introverted

134
Ratings for Guest No. 2
Intelligent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unintelligent
Untrained
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Trained
Expert
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Inexpert
Informed
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Uninformed
Incompetent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Competent
Bright
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stupid
Virtuous
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Sinful
Dishonest
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Honest
Selfish
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unselfish
Sympathetic
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unsympathetic
High
character
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Low
character
Trustworthy
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Untrustworthy
Meek
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Aggressive
Bold
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Timid
Tired
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Energetic
Extroverted
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Introverted

135
Ratings for Guest No. 3
Intelligent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unintelligent
Untrained
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Trained
Expert
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Inexpert
Informed
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Uninformed
Incompetent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Competent
Bright
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stupid
Virtuous
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Sinful
Dishonest
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Honest
Selfish
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unselfish
Sympathetic
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unsympathetic
High
character
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Low
character
Trustworthy
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Untrustworthy
Meek
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Aggressive
Bold
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Timid
Tired
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Energetic
Extroverted
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Introverted

136
Ratings for Guest No. 4
Intelligent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unintelligent
Untrained
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Trained
Expert
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Inexpert
Informed
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Uninformed
Incompetent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Competent
Bright
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stupid
Virtuous
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Sinful
Dishonest
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Honest
Selfish
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unselfish
Sympathetic
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unsympathetic
High
character
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Low
character
Trustworthy
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Untrustworthy
Meek
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Aggressive
Bold
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Timid
Tired
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Energetic
Extroverted
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Introverted

137
Ratings for Guest No. 5
Intelligent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unintelligent
Untrained
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Trained
Expert
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Inexpert
Informed
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Uninformed
Incompetent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Competent
Bright
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stupid
Virtuous
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Sinful
Dishonest
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Honest
Selfish
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unselfish
Sympathetic
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unsympathetic
High
character
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Low
character
Trustworthy
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Untrustworthy
Meek
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Aggressive
Bold
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Timid
Tired
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Energetic
Extroverted
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Introverted

138
Ratings for Guest No. 6
Intelligent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unintelligent
Untrained
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Trained
Expert
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Inexpert
Informed
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Uninformed
Incompetent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Competent
Bright
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stupid
Virtuous
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Sinful
Dishonest
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Honest
Selfish
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unselfish
Sympathetic
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unsympathetic
High
character
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Low
character
Trustworthy
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Untrustworthy
Meek
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Aggressive
Bold
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Timid
Tired
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Energetic
Extroverted
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Introverted

139
Ratings for Guest No. 7
Intelligent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unintelligent
Untrained
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Trained
Expert
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Inexpert
Informed
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Uninformed
Incompetent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Competent
Bright
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stupid
Virtuous
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Sinful
Dishonest
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Honest
Selfish
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unselfish
Sympathetic
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unsympathetic
High
character
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Low
character
Trustworthy
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Untrustworthy
Meek
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Aggressive
Bold
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Timid
Tired
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Energetic
Extroverted
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Introverted

140
Ratings for Guest No. 8
Intelligent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unintelligent
Untrained
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Trained
Expert
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Inexpert
Informed
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Uninformed
Incompetent
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Competent
Bright
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Stupid
Virtuous
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Sinful
Dishonest
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Honest
Selfish
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unselfish
Sympathetic
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Unsympathetic
High
character
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Low
character
Trustworthy
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Untrustworthy
Meek
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Aggressive
Bold
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Timid
Tired
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Energetic
Extroverted
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Introverted

APPENDIX E
DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION
Please answer the following questions by placing an X in
the appropriate space.
Do you know or recognize any of the guest professors in
the interviews you have just seen? Yes No
My age is:
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
My sex is:
1 Male
2 Female
How much education do you have?
1 I completed grammar or elementary school.
2 I completed high school.
3 I completed two years of college.
4 I completed a bachelor's degree in college.
5 I completed a vocational or trade school
(such as a beauty or barber college or business
school)
6 I have some formal college work beyond a
bachelor's degree.
7 I completed a master's degree.
8 I completed a Ph.D., Ed.D., J.D., or M.D.
degree.
What is the annual income of your family?
1 Less than $10,000
2 Between $10,000 and $20,000
3 Between $20,000 and $40,000
4 Between $40,000 and $60,000
5 More than $60,000
What is your occupation? If you are retired, what is your
former occupation?
Between
18
and
24
Between
25
and
34
Between
35
and
44
Between
45
and
54
Between
55
and
64
Between
65
and
74
75 or over
141

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Erika Engstrom was born on September 20, 1964, in
Tokyo, Japan, to Alex and Margaret Engstrom, nee Hisayo
Mizukami. After several years of living in such exotic
places as Japan, South Korea, and Toms River, New Jersey,
her family settled in Longwood, Florida, in 1975.
Engstrom graduated from the University of Central
Florida in Orlando in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts in
radio-television. She received a Master of Arts in
communication from UCF in 1986. She worked in broadcast
news during her undergraduate and graduate studies.
Engstrom began work on a Ph.D. in mass communication
at the University of Florida in 1986. As a graduate
assistant at the College of Journalism and Communications,
she taught courses in radio news and mass media writing.
She also worked as news anchor at the school's National
Public Radio affiliate, WUFT-FM.
She will move to Las Vegas, Nevada, in the summer of
1991, where she has accepted a position as assistant
professor of communication studies at the Greenspun School
of Communication at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
148

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
y--/.’ J
Mickie N. Edwardson, Chair
Distinguished Service Professor
of Journalism and Communications
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
-P c
Leonard P. Tipton
Professor of Journalism and
Communications
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
"TuL L)
John W. Wrigh(t)
Professor of Journalism and
Communications
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Qj^±t
Constance-
Associate Professor of Sociology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
ir F. Gubrium
Professor of Sociology

This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate
Faculty of the College of Journalism and Communications
and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.
August, 1991
Dean^ College of Journalism
and Communications
Dean, Graduate School

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
111 111 111 Mill III" 1
3 1262 08553 4732