Elizabeth Grabe, professor of telecommunications, and Lelia Samson, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Telecommunications in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University, said their study involved showing about 400 people one of two videos featuring the same 24-year-old woman in different styles of dress.
Grabe and Samson said men tended to rate the woman's professionalism higher when viewing the video of the woman dressed in clothing accentuating her waist-to-hip ratio, a necklace drawing attention to her neckline and red lipstick as compared with the men shown the video featuring the woman in a shapeless outfit and only subtle makeup.
However, the researchers said men viewing the more sexually alluring version retained less information and rated her competence lower for reporting on hard news topics.
The team said female viewers did not show much of a difference in rating the woman's competency for the two videos, but they retained more information when shown the sexualized version.
Grabe and Samson said they are planning a follow-up study to further their research.