Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. John M. Darley, Department of Psychology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08540.
The “Clean for Gene” Phenomenon: The Effect of Students' Appearance on Political Campaigning1
Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 2, Issue 1, pages 24–33, March 1972
How to Cite
Darley, J. M. and Cooper, J. (1972), The “Clean for Gene” Phenomenon: The Effect of Students' Appearance on Political Campaigning. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 2: 24–33. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1972.tb01261.x
The authors wish to thank John Drozdal, James Henderson, Thomas Murray, Peter Ornstein, Charles Scalize, and Raynard Toomer for their assistance and advice on various aspects of the research.
- Issue online: 31 JUL 2006
- Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Field experiments investigated the relationship between a political campaigner's dress and appearance and his campaign effectiveness. In one study deviant, “freaky” appearing campaigners attempting to hand out innocuous leaflets in a shopping center had a lower acceptance rate than did more conventionally dressed campaigners. Those shoppers who did accept leaflets from “freaks” were more likely to throw them away unread. The first experiment suggested that deviant-appearing campaigners have difficulty communicating information to potential voters, but it was argued that, in another sense, they convey all too much information. Knowing only that the campaigners for one candidate were deviant and “hippy” in appearance as compared to the conventionally dressed campaigners supporting a second candidate, voters in a second experiment were willing to ascribe more radical opinions to the deviants' candidate. Voters then used their inferences as the basis on which to select a candidate. The rationality of inferring beliefs from appearances is discussed in terms of correspondent inference theory.