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Interactive effects of shoe style and verbal cues on perceptions of female physicians' personal attributes

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Document pages: 9 pages

Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To determine whether shoe style has any effect on perceptions of a female physician s personal characteristics when viewed alongside a transcript of a short outpatient consultation.PARTICIPANTS: Thirty postgraduate students of management or computer science. Twenty-five questionnaires were actually completed.DESIGN: Respondents were randomly assigned to one of three groups, balanced for gender. Each group saw one stimulus combination: consultation transcript only; transcript combined with photograph of physician wearing "conservative " black boots; transcript combined withphotograph of physician wearing "trendy " multicoloured boots. All participants completed the same questionnaire.MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Perceptions of the physician s approachability, professional image, ability to empathize with the patient, and amount of specialist experience, measured using five-point scales.RESULTS: When viewed with the consultation transcript, perceptions of the physician wearing "trendy " multicoloured boots showed no significant difference from those of her wearing "conservative " black boots. There was a near-significant effect for approachability, with the physician in black boots being more approachable than the physician in multicoloured boots (p=0.0630). When viewed with the consultation transcript, perceptions of the physician wearing either "trendy " multicoloured boots or "conservative " black boots showed no significant difference from perceptions based on the the consultation transcript alone.CONCLUSIONS: Shoe style does not appear to influence perceptions of female physicians when combined with verbal cues. However, the research requires replication with a larger sample. The incorporation of qualitative response and or multimodal videotaped stimuli may improve study designs in this area.

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