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Shoplifting is a prevalent crime in the United States with approximately 13 billion dollars in merchandise being stolen from retailers each year. The present study was designed to determine whether or not physical characteristics, such as appearance, influence people’s responses in a shoplifting scenario. When a customer entered the store, a confederate female either conventionally or alternatively dressed, would act as if she were shopping as well. The confederate made noise or dropped something to draw attention to herself before taking an item and leaving the store quickly. The participants were then given time to confront the shoplifter or approach the store’s associate, while a researcher observed the customers and recorded their reactions to the shoplifting scenario. A Univariate Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) test was run to determine if there was an interaction between sex and dress (conventional and alternative) in regards to whether or not participants noticed the shoplifting incident, as well as if they reported the shoplifting incident. There was no main effect for dress, F(1,50)=0.471, p=0.496, or for sex, F(1,50)=0.471, p=0.496. There was a significant sex*dress interaction, F(1,48)=7.529, p=0.009; such that the alternative female and conservative male were reported far less than the conservative female and alternative male. Alternative females are most likely ignored more than conventional females because they appear less friendly to onlookers, don’t fit the stereotypical pretty girl description that gets more onlookers, or, from the biological perspective, no longer have the aspects of mate eligibility that males notice or make females feel threatened.


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Subject
    • Psychological Science

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
    • Library Third Floor, Open Area

  • Event date
    • 30 March 2015

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Kelly Cate