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The Effects of Striped Clothing on Perceptions of Body Size

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Findings in recent studies indicate that, contrary to popular fashion advice, horizontal lines do not give the impression of larger body size (Thompson, 2008; Thompson & Mikellidou, 2009, 2011). However, in these studies stimuli were presented concurrently with vertical and horizontal lines, and it is unclear whether the same effect is found in the absence of such perceptual anchors. In this study, 120 naive participants interacted with a female confederate wearing a dress with vertical stripes, horizontal stripes, or no stripes. Following this, they were asked to rate the confederate's body size. Results showed that the confederate was rated as having a significantly larger body size when she was dressed in horizontal stripes than when she was wearing either vertical stripes or no stripes. There was no significant difference in body size perceptions when she was wearing vertical stripes or no stripes. The practical implications of these results are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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