Monday, January 13, 2020

We aim to determine whether shoes are a systematic form of self-expression

Those shoes are you! Personality expressed in shoes. Stephanus Badenhorst et al. Univ. of Wisconsin, Jan 2020.

• People express their personality traits and attitudes in many ways. People express themselves
in the way they speak and carry themselves1, what they post on social media2, the leisure activities they pursue3, the music they prefer4, and even the clothes they wear5.
• We aim to determine whether shoes are a systematic form of self-expression. Only one other
research team has pursued this question 6; in that study, men and women completed a brief (10-item) personality inventory and submitted a photo of the shoes they wear most often. The researchers showed that characteristics of people’s shoes are tied to their gender (more feminine shoes) and income (more expensive shoes), but they found very few links between people’s personality traits and shoe characteristics.
• In the current study, we extend past research by (1) using a comprehensive personality inventory, (2) asking participants to report on their shoe purchasing and decision-making behaviors, and (3) asking participants to submit a photo of the shoes they think best represents their personality.
• In this poster, we present the results of analyses designed to test two hypotheses:
(1) The shoes that people wear are tied to their personality (e.g., more conscientious people wear
cleaner and well-maintained shoes); and
(2) People’s shoe-buying and shoe-decision-making behaviors are tied to their personality traits (e.g., more extraverted people own more shoes and spend more money on their shoes).
• As far as we know, we are only the second research team to test the hypothesis that people drop hints about their personality through the shoes they wear; further, we are the first team to investigate how people’s shoe decision-making and shoe consumer habits relate to their personality traits.
• Not all personality traits were correlated with all shoe characteristics, and the correlations that were statistically significant were generally weak in magnitude. However, we had a lot of shoes that did not vary from each other: 3 people uploaded a basic Converse, 15 people uploaded a black or neutral toned running shoe, and 4 people uploaded a basic white Vans canvas loafer. It is possible that the links between shoe characteristics and shoe-owner personality traits would be a bit stronger if we had a sample of shoes posted by individuals –perhaps middle-aged adults– who have fewer financial constraints and perhaps fewer conformity concerns that presumably limit the degree of variability in shoe characteristics within a college student sample.

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