A new study coming out in the August issue of the Journal of Research in Personality, vindicates all those "judgers" of the world, who have made countless, swift and immediate assumptions about other people based solely on their shoes. You know who you are.
Interested in how people formed quick first impressions about others, Dr. Angela Bahns, an assistant professor of psychology at Wellesley College discovered,
“people were able to correctly judge a stranger's age, gender, income, political affiliation, emotional and other important personality traits just by looking at the person's shoes,”
with 90% accuracy.
As an introvert, this is very exciting news. I can now justifiably avoid whole groups of people just by looking at their shoes. “It's not me, it's you. Your unkempt, scruffy brown 40-year-old 'Birks' accurately warn me a conversation about the Koch brothers, organic farming, and climate change is imminent.”
Participants in the study were asked to look at a pair of shoes and then guess,
“gender, age, social status and different personality traits of the owner, like whether the owner was an extrovert or introvert, liberal or conservative and the degree of their emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness.”
The results were so accurate, researchers concluded, “...people do wear shoes that reveal their personality, whether they intend to or not.”
Ready to find out what your shoes are telling the rest of us?
- Expensive shoes tell us you have money
- Flashy and colorful shoes tell us you’re an extrovert
- Older, clean and well cared for shoes are the sign of a conscientious person
- Practical and functional shoes tell us you’re agreeable
- Ankle boots indicate you’re a more aggressive personality
- Uncomfortable looking shoes tell us you're calm
- Shabby, less expensive shoes are the hallmark of liberal thinkers, and “flip flop wearing hippies.”
- Boring shoes tell us you have difficulty forming relationships
- And the surprise finding, subjects were able to identify “needy clinginess” from brand new, clean, well-kept shoes. Researchers aren’t sure how people were picking up on this trait, but somehow, like Far Side spamalopes cautiously eyeballing passing lions, participants were wary about the people in these shoes.
Just for fun, I thought I’d ask Ricochet readers to make some assumptions about our famous footwear volunteers. What are these shoes telling us about the people wearing them?
(In as much as the internet is a reliable source, these shoes belong to the following: 1. Grace Kelly, 2. Ronald Reagan, 3. Hillary Clinton, 4. Rick Perry)