Inferences of Competence from Faces Predict Election Outcomes, in: Science, Vol. 308, S. 1623 ff

Department of Psychology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States
Science (Impact Factor: 33.61). 07/2005; 308(5728):1623-6. DOI: 10.1126/science.1110589
Source: PubMed


We show that inferences of competence based solely on facial appearance predicted the outcomes of U.S. congressional elections better than chance (e.g., 68.8% of the Senate races in 2004) and also were linearly related to the margin of victory. These inferences were specific to competence and occurred within a 1-second exposure to the faces of the candidates. The findings suggest that rapid, unreflective trait inferences can contribute to voting choices, which are widely assumed to be based primarily on rational and deliberative considerations.

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Available from: Amir Goren, Jan 31, 2014
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    • "Welsh and Guy (2009) have explored the influence of hair loss or baldness on possible social and psychological implications of appearance disturbance, while van Leeuwen et al. (2009) have examined the influence of attractiveness on imitation intentions. Moreover, Little et al. (2007) and Todorov et al. (2005) have shown that inferences of competence are based solely on facial appearance and, in the case of politics, can often predict election outcomes. According to Todorov et al. (2008), we reliably and automatically make personality inferences from facial appearance, despite little evidence of accuracy. "
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    DESCRIPTION: Highlights Research is done as an experimental study with experimental and comparative groups. The assessment of physical attractiveness is common in the service encounter. There is a correlation between customer attractiveness and quality of service. Employees should be trained not to allow guest appearance to influence the service. Social workers are trained not to let clients’ appearance affect service rendered.
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    • "Assigning people to one of the four stereotypes allows swift judgment of others (Harris and Fiske, 2007). The face evaluation model also proposed that two similar major axes, trustworthiness/valence and dominance/power, define face assessment (Todorov et al., 2005, 2008). This model proposes that people use facial features to evaluate others within this 2D space, and these evaluations predict the outcome of social behaviors as significant as election results. "
    Dataset: mmc2
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    • "More generally, the use of heuristics in voting has been well documented in the wider political behavior literature, most prominently in reference to party cues (e.g. Campbell, et al. 1960; Conover and Feldman 1989; Downs 1957; Feldman and Conover 1983; Hurwitz 1984; Lau and Redlawsk 2006; Lodge and Hamill 1986; Lupia and McCubbins 1998; Popkin 1991; Rahn 1993), but also gender (Ditonto, et al. 2013) and other aspects of physical appearance (Rosenberg and McCafferty 1987; Todorov, et al. 2005; Lawson, et al. 2010). "
    Annual Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, San Juan, Puerto Rico; 05/2015
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