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Appearance-based politics: Sex-typed facial cues communicate political party affiliation

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Abstract

Consequential political judgments often rely on facial appearance, yet the facial cues that compel such judgments remain unspecified. We predicted that judgments of political party affiliation, and by extension their accuracy, rely on the sex-typicality of facial cues (i.e., the degree of facial masculinity and femininity). In Study 1, we found that among Republicans/Conservatives in the 111th U.S. House of Representatives, women were significantly more sex-typical than men. This was not true for Democrats/Liberals. In Study 2, we examined the relationship between sex-typicality of facial cues and social judgments. We found that the accuracy of Republican categorizations was positively related to feminine cues in women but negatively related to masculine cues in men. In contrast, the opposite pattern was true for Democratic categorizations. Facial sex-typicality mediated the interaction between politician sex and party and perceiver party affiliation judgments. We discuss the implications that these findings have for electoral politics.

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... Can voters infer politically relevant information from candidates' facial images? To address this question, prior work has examined voters' ability to judge political candidates' ideological orientations by their faces (Bull & Hawkes, 1982;Bull, Jenkins, & Stevens, 1983;Carpinella & Johnson, 2013;Jahoda, 1954;Olivola, Sussman, Tsetsos, Kang, & Todorov, 2012;Olivola & Todorov, 2010b;Rule & Ambady, 2010;Samochowiec, W€ anke, & Fiedler, 2010). These studies indicate that candidates' political inclinations can be predicted above chance level from facial images. ...
... Confirming prior findings (Bull & Hawkes, 1982;Bull, et al., 1983;Carpinella & Johnson, 2013;Jahoda, 1954;Olivola et al., 2012;Olivola & Todorov, 2010b;Rule & Ambady, 2010;Samochowiec et al., 2010), we found the proportion of correct answers to exceed chance level (60% accuracy, 95% confidence interval [59%, 61%]). Male candidates were perceived as more left wing (58% left-wing judgments, 95% CI [56%, 60%]); female candidates were not (48% left-wing judgments, 95% CI [47%, 50%]). ...
... Confirming prior studies (Bull & Hawkes, 1982;Bull et al., 1983;Carpinella & Johnson, 2013;Jahoda, 1954;Olivola et al., 2012;Olivola & Todorov, 2010b;Rule & Ambady, 2010;Samochowiec et al., 2010), the average prediction rate was above chance level (55% accuracy, 95% CI [54%, 56%]). The same figure was 61% (95% CI [59%, 62%]) for same-gender candidate pairs (19 male, 1 female) and 49% (95% CI [48%, 51%]) for cross-gender candidate pairs (20 pairs). ...
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Can voters infer candidates’ political orientations from their faces? We report evidence that observers make systematic judgment errors, ascribing their own political views to attractive or competent-looking candidates. Subjects judged headshot images of student candidates running in university elections (Experiment 1), as well as professional politicians from state election races in Germany (Experiment 2), according to whether the person(s) displayed held ideologically leftist or rightist views. While prediction accuracy was above chance level in both experiments, candidate attractiveness (Experiment 1) and perceived competence (Experiment 2) increased a subject’s likelihood of attributing her political views to a candidate. These findings suggest that the value of face-based inferences in choosing the candidate who best represents one’s views is more limited than previously assumed. They also suggest that good looks may help extremist candidates in presenting themselves as more moderate.
... We consider the traits "intelligent" and "masculine" ("feminine" for female's case), also known for "sex-typicality." [7] 2. Biological History: Faces also reflect a person's biological history, giving rise to traits such as perceived age, health, and level of energy, important dimensions for predicting future performance. We consider the traits "perceived age," "baby-faced," [37] and "energetic" in this category. ...
... In addition, the politicians in our dataset, to run for the major elections, should be selected in primary elections to represent their parties, which means the party affiliation reflects the outcome of another election. This has been studied by prior behavioral studies [7] which reported an accuracy better than chance (53 ∼ 55%). ...
... One study suggested that female (but not male) politicians' faces are aligned with their party ideology: Republicans (vs. Democrats) tended to have more gender-typical morphology (Carpinella & Johnson, 2013). This difference appeared to facilitate perceivers' accuracy in categorizing faces as Republican or Democrat. ...
... However, politicians may be selected for their ability to reflect an appearance consistent with their party's values in the first place. It remains to be seen whether faces of non-politicians would show similar effects as in Carpinella and Johnson's (2013) study. ...
... One study suggested that female (but not male) politicians' faces are aligned with their party ideology: Republicans (vs. Democrats) tended to have more gender-typical morphology (Carpinella & Johnson, 2013). This difference appeared to facilitate perceivers' accuracy in categorizing faces as Republican or Democrat. ...
... However, politicians may be selected for their ability to reflect an appearance consistent with their party's values in the first place. It remains to be seen whether faces of non-politicians would show similar effects as in Carpinella and Johnson's (2013) study. ...
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Whether there are objective differences in facial morphology among individuals of differing political conviction is largely unknown. Due to its relation to dominance, which is a component of conservative ideology, the facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) could be related to political views of face-bearers. We test several hypotheses regarding the relation between fWHR and political views in a sample of 400 Turkish undergraduate students. Participants' facial photographs were taken and several self-report measures were administered in a separate online session. There was no reliable evidence of a relation between fWHR and political views or religiosity. Examining facial morphology more broadly using geometric morphometric (GM) analyses yielded the same conclusion. Both facial morphology and political/religious views are complex and more sensitive empirical tools may be required to capture their relation, if any.
... When judging targets who do not conform to stereotypes, participants predictably misapply these stereotypes and make erroneous judgments (Freeman et al., 2010). Similar effects have been observed in other forms of visually based social judgment (e.g., Carpinella & Johnson, 2013;Rule, Garrett, & Ambady, 2010). Of course, this is hardly a new idea: Kahneman (1974, p. 1131) noted long ago that heuristics such as stereotypes are "highly economical and usually effective, but they lead to systematic and predictable errors." ...
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We endorse Cesario's call for more research into the complexities of “real-world” decisions and the comparative power of different causes of group disparities. Unfortunately, these reasonable suggestions are overshadowed by a barrage of non sequiturs, misdirected criticisms of methodology, and unsubstantiated claims about the assumptions and inferences of social psychologists.
... Ideological differences between conservatives and liberals may also impact gendered political perceptions and voting preferences. For example, Carpinella and Johnson (2013) found that conservative women running for the U.S. House of Representatives appeared more facially sex-typical (i.e., stereotypically feminine) than liberal candidates. Moreover, sex-typicality has been found to be predictive of political success among female candidates, especially within states that have a large conservative constituency (Hehman et al. 2014) and within the Republican, but not Democratic, Party (Carpinella et al. 2016). ...
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Past research has indicated that women who work in male-dominated fields, such as politics, face discrimination due to a stereotypically perceived poor fit between their gender and occupational expectations. Even when their potential for success is undeniable, these women are typically derogated and viewed as unlikeable for violating prescriptive gender norms. We examined whether conservative U.S. women would respond in this unfavorable manner toward Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Female undergraduates (n = 140) were randomly assigned to watch a set of three campaign ads that included either no slogan, a gender-neutral slogan (“Stronger Together”), or a gendered slogan (“I’m with Her”). Afterwards, they rated Clinton on dimensions related to interpersonal hostility, competency, and overall support. Given its adherence to traditional values and gender roles, we hypothesized that political conservatism would be predictive of critical responses to Clinton, especially when the campaign slogan made her gender-norm violation salient. Results revealed that conservative ideology was more strongly associated with increased ratings of perceived hostility and less support for Clinton within the “I’m with Her” condition than with the comparison groups. These findings point to the social maintenance of political inequality and suggest that female leaders may need to use gender-neutral platforms to diminish the negative effects of their perceived norm violation, at least among conservative voters.
... Because targets of social perception vary along several dimensions, the perception of one category is likely to affect the perception of another category (Johnson & Carpinella, 2012;Johnson et al., 2014; see also Freeman et al., 2012). Indeed, the current findings add to the growing list of category combinations that are mutually influential, including the effect of emotion on gender categorizations of body motions and faces (Hess et al., 2009;, the impact of race on sexual orientation judgments (Johnson & Ghavami, 2011), the impact of gender on political party judgments (Carpinella & Johnson, 2013), and importantly, the effect of race on gender categorizations . The finding that gendered cues bias race categorizations in a similar fashion supports the bidirectional nature of these effects. ...
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Race and gender categories, although long presumed to be perceived independently, are inextricably tethered in social perception due in part to natural confounding of phenotypic cues. We predicted that target gender would affect race categorizations. Consistent with this hypothesis, feminine faces compelled White categorizations, and masculine faces compelled Asian or Black categorizations of racially ambiguous targets (Study 1), monoracial targets (Study 2), and real facial photographs (Study 3). The efficiency of judgments varied concomitantly. White categorizations were rendered more rapidly for feminine, relative to masculine faces, but the opposite was true for Asian and Black categorizations (Studies 1-3). Moreover, the effect of gender on categorization efficiency was compelled by racial phenotypicality for Black targets (Study 3). Finally, when targets' race prototypicality was held constant, gender still influenced race categorizations (Study 4). These findings indicate that race categorizations are biased by presumably unrelated gender cues. © 2015 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.
... Thus, on issues that call out for male attributes, it is the woman with the counterstereotypical rather than stereotypical face that gains the edge (Lammers et al., 2009). Similar findings emerged from an American study where conservative female politicians with stereotypically feminine faces were rated as less competent, while stereotypically feminine but liberal politicians were judged more competent (Carpinella & Johnson, 2013b). Since conservatism is associated with men and liberalism with women (McDermott, 1998;Koch, 2000;King and Matland, 2003), femininity violates expectations in the case of conservative women, but is stereotype-consistent for liberals. ...
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Gender and race biases persist in western democracies, with male and white candidates still being the norm. Voters may be more inclined to express sexist and racist attitudes in countries with a traditionally male-dominated political system and a majority-white population. As sexism and racism are notoriously difficult to document, and because many people are unaware of their biases toward social groups, we bypass conventional survey measurement and observe voters’ willingness to support candidates whose physical features have been manipulated to make them appear more prototypically feminine or non-white. We implemented this approach in the context of the 2013 Italian election, by presenting a national sample of Italian voters with pictures of male and female parliamentary candidates – both unknown and well known. Overall, we found no main effects of gender or race bias in political judgment. For Italian voters, party cues are by far the most powerful indicators of out-group status, and therefore the strongest predictors of candidate perception and support. This result may be of particular interest to other political contexts characterized by strong partisan polarization.
... Thus, on issues that call out for male attributes, it is the woman with the counterstereotypical rather than stereotypical face that gains the edge (Lammers et al., 2009). Similar findings emerged from an American study where conservative female politicians with stereotypically feminine faces were rated as less competent, while stereotypically feminine but liberal politicians were judged more competent (Carpinella & Johnson, 2013b). Since conservatism is associated with men and liberalism with women (McDermott, 1998;Koch, 2000;King and Matland, 2003), femininity violates expectations in the case of conservative women, but is stereotype-consistent for liberals. ...
Data
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Gender and race biases persist in western democracies, with male and white candidates still being the norm. Voters may be more inclined to express sexist and racist attitudes in countries with a traditionally male-dominated political system and a majority-white population. As sexism and racism are notoriously difficult to document, and because many people are unaware of their biases toward social groups, we bypass conventional survey measurement and observe voters’ willingness to support candidates whose physical features have been manipulated to make them appear more prototypically feminine or non-white. We implemented this approach in the context of the 2013 Italian election, by presenting a national sample of Italian voters with pictures of male and female parliamentary candidates – both unknown and well known. Overall, we found no main effects of gender or race bias in political judgment. For Italian voters, party cues are by far the most powerful indicators of out-group status, and therefore the strongest predictors of candidate perception and support. This result may be of particular interest to other political contexts characterized by strong partisan polarization.
... Odwołując się natomiast do typologii Sullivana i jego współpracowników (1990), polityk "supermen", ze względu na cechy związane z charyzmą i niedostępnością, będzie spostrzegany raczej w kategoriach dominacji, natomiast polityk "zwykły człowiek" będzie budził większą sympatię i zaufanie. Społeczne spostrzeganie opisanych cech jest silnie związane z typowością twarzy ocenianego polityka (nasyceniem twarzy cechami charakterystycznymi dla tej płci), która w realiach politycznych wydaje się mieć istotne znaczenie (Carpinella, Johnson, 2013). ...
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Current study presents analysis of politician image based on comparison between two parallel versions of his facial appearance: with and without moustache. The experiment was conducted on 395 adult Poles not familiar with politician presented at photo. To assess the impact of the moustache on image the Kaid’s semantic differential was used. Exploratory factor analysis revealed two dimensions of image: the expert dimension and the close-to-people politician dimension (correspondent with John Sullivan’s model of superman and everyman political image). The analyses indicated that the presence of moustache (in comparison to lack of moustache) results in lower rates on the expert dimension among men and higher rates on the close-to-people dimension among women. As a result, actual introduced change in image (shaving the moustache) brings mixed effects, not all of them beneficiary for candidate. The results are discussed in terms of Alexander Todorov’s model of perception of people based on their facial appearance.
... This finding fits well with Laustsen and Petersen's (2015) study on facial dominance, which finds that individuals with dominant facial features are more trusted in situations involving conflict. Voters also rely on the sex-typicality of a politician's face (i.e., how feminine or masculine their facial traits are) to infer the politician's party affiliation (Carpinella & Johnson, 2013). Given the Nonverbal Communication in Politics 21 significant party system variations across democracies, the relationship between facial sextypicality and inferred partisanship should be replicated beyond the U.S. context. ...
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This article reviews research contributions in political science and communication to the topic of nonverbal communication and politics from 2005 to 2015. The review opens with research on the content of nonverbal communication, then considers studies examining what moderates the impact of nonverbal aspects of political messages on attitudes and behavior and the mechanisms that underpin these effects. Over the period reviewed here, research shows that the nonverbal channel is rich in political information and is consequential for political decision making, particularly under certain circumstances, such as in low-information conditions. Visuals affect political decisions through cognitive and emotional routes. This review article also identifies several directions where further research is required, particularly with regard to social media, nonvisual aspects of nonverbal communication, the interplay of visual and verbal arguments, and the mechanisms behind the effects of nonverbal communication.
... On the other hand, Hehman, Carpinella, Johnson, Leitner, and Freeman (2014) find that more masculine looking women (who may also be more traditionally competent looking) are actually at a disadvantage among voters. Carpinella and Johnson (2013a) further find that facial femininity leads to higher competence ratings for liberals and Democrats but to lower competence ratings for conservatives and Republicans, but there is also some evidence that gender-typical features (feminine features for women and masculine features for men) give Republican candidates an advantage, but not Democrats (Carpinella, Hehman, Freeman and Johnson 2015;Carpinella and Johnson 2013b). ...
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This study seeks to determine whether subjects in two dynamic process tracing experiments react differently to information related to a candidate’s competence when that candidate is a woman, vs. when he is a man. I find that subjects evaluate a candidate whose competence is in doubt less favorably, and are less likely to vote for the candidate, when she is a woman. In general, evaluations of women seem to be influenced much more by information related to their competence than are evaluations of men. I also find that competence as portrayed by the composition of a candidate’s facial features does not alter this relationship. My findings suggest that gender-based stereotypes may have an indirect effect on candidate evaluations and vote choice by influencing how voters react to information about them.
... More masculine-looking women have been found to be disadvantaged among voters (Hehman et al. 2014), so it is possible that the effects of competence seen in this analysis are partially a function of facial masculinity. It is interesting that Carpinella and Johnson (2013) find that facial femininity is associated with higher competence ratings for female candidates among Democrats/liberals but with lower competence ratings for Republicans/conservatives. ...
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Studies show that automatic trait inferences can predict outcomes of actual elections, but these studies generally include male candidates only. Substantial evidence also shows that female candidates are subject to gender-based stereotypes, which can lead to differences in how men and women candidates are evaluated. This article combines these two literatures to compare the effects of competence, threat, and attractiveness inferences in elections that include women. We use experimental data in which candidate pairs from state and local US elections were judged on these three traits and examine whether those ratings are predictive of election outcomes. We find that although competence matters most for elections involving only men, attractiveness predicts winners in women-only elections. In mixed-gender races, competence inferences predict success when the female candidate is perceived as more competent than the male candidate. Finally, unlike men, women benefit from being perceived as physically threatening in mixed-gender races.
... Pertinent to the current inquiry, the gender typicality of faces also influences person construal (Carpinella, Hehman, Freeman, & Johnson, 2016;Carpinella & Johnson, 2013;Sofer, Dotsch, Wigboldus, & Todorov, 2015). For instance, for occupations associated with men and women, the relative masculinity/femininity (i.e., typicality) of faces impacts hiring recommendations and candidate evaluations (e.g., Sczesny & Kühnen, 2004;Sczesny, Spreemann, & Stahlberg, 2006;von Stockhausen, Koeser, & Sczesny, 2013). ...
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Stereotypes facilitate the processing of expectancy-consistent (vs expectancy-inconsistent) information, yet the underlying origin of this congruency effect remains unknown. As such, here we sought to identify the cognitive operations through which stereotypes influence decisional processing. In six experiments, participants responded to stimuli that were consistent or inconsistent with respect to prevailing gender stereotypes. To identify the processes underpinning task performance, responses were submitted to a hierarchical drift diffusion model (HDDM) analysis. A consistent pattern of results emerged. Whether manipulated at the level of occupational (Expts. 1, 3, and 5) or trait-based (Expts. 2, 4, and 6) expectancies, stereotypes facilitated task performance and influenced decisional processing via a combination of response and stimulus biases. Specifically, (1) stereotype-consistent stimuli were classified more rapidly than stereotype-inconsistent stimuli; (2) stereotypic responses were favoured over counter-stereotypic responses (i.e., starting-point shift towards stereotypic responses); (3) less evidence was required when responding to stereotypic than counter-stereotypic stimuli (i.e., narrower threshold separation for stereotypic stimuli); and (4) decisional evidence was accumulated more efficiently for stereotype-inconsistent than stereotype-consistent stimuli and when targets had a typical than atypical facial appearance. Collectively, these findings elucidate how stereotypes influence person construal.
... Perhaps more surprising is the fact that perceivers make quick, consensual, and generally accurate decisions about social categories that are not marked by such obvious physical differences. Indeed, research over the past decade consistently revealed that perceivers categorize political party membership (Carpinella & Johnson, 2013;Olivola & Todorov, 2010;, religious affiliation (Rule, Garrett, & Ambady, 2010), and sexual orientation (Freeman, Johnson, Ambady, & Rule, 2010;Johnson, Gill, Reichman, & Tassinary, 2007; at above-chance levels after brief exposure to targets' faces or bodies. A recent meta-analysis revealed modest but reliable accuracy in categorizations of perceptually ambiguous groups based upon visible cues alone (Tskhay & Rule, 2013). ...
... A growing number of studies claim to demonstrate that people can make face-based judgments of honesty 4 , personality 5 , intelligence 6 , sexual orientation 7 , political orientation [8][9][10][11][12] , and violent tendencies 13 . There is an ongoing discussion about the extent to which face-based judgments are enabled by stable facial features (e.g., morphology); transient facial features (e.g., facial expression, makeup, facial hair, or head orientation); or targets' demographic traits that can be easily inferred from their face (e.g., age, gender, and ethnicity) 14 . ...
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Ubiquitous facial recognition technology can expose individuals’ political orientation, as faces of liberals and conservatives consistently differ. A facial recognition algorithm was applied to naturalistic images of 1,085,795 individuals to predict their political orientation by comparing their similarity to faces of liberal and conservative others. Political orientation was correctly classified in 72% of liberal–conservative face pairs, remarkably better than chance (50%), human accuracy (55%), or one afforded by a 100-item personality questionnaire (66%). Accuracy was similar across countries (the U.S., Canada, and the UK), environments (Facebook and dating websites), and when comparing faces across samples. Accuracy remained high (69%) even when controlling for age, gender, and ethnicity. Given the widespread use of facial recognition, our findings have critical implications for the protection of privacy and civil liberties.
... When it comes to political leaders, studies have shown that voters hold stereotypic associations between the ideology of politicians and their facial traits (Carpinella & Johnson, 2013;Rule & Ambady, 2010). Thorough examinations of these stereotypes demonstrated that a "dominant" look is associated with wight-wing ideology (Hayes, 2005;Rule & Ambady, 2010). ...
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The present study aims to replicate the findings of Laustsen & Petersen's paper 'Winning Faces Vary by Ideology: How Nonverbal Source Cues Influence Election and Communication Success in Politics' (2016). Among other findings, Laustsen and Petersen reported that conservatives tend to have a stronger preference for dominant-looking leaders compared to liberals. Additionally, they explored how leadership preferences are affected by situational factors, finding that subjects have a stronger preference for leaders under conflict. The present paper concludes that the circumstances of conflict are a more consistent and accurate predictor of subjects’ preference for dominant-looking leaders, compared to conservative ideology.
... . al(2012;Carpinella et. al (2013) would advised to determine whether study findings can be replicated. ...
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This chapter discusses how populist radical right politicians utilise political blogs for political communication and persuasion. Applying a critical discursive and visual rhetorical analytical approach on a case example of a Finnish populist radical right-wing political blog, the chapter shows that use of digital and visual communicative tools allows politicians to express negative views about immigrants and minorities without expressing an explicit personal opinion, thus avoiding coming across as xenophobic or prejudiced. The chapter discusses the social and political implications of the political blog discourse and draws attention to the importance of the social media for the electoral fortunes of populist radical right-wing parties. Finally, it encourages discursive researchers in the future to pay analytic attention to various non-verbal, especially visual, forms of online political communication and persuasion.
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Not just the content of a communication but also the source of the communication shapes its persuasiveness. Recent research in political communication suggests that important source cues are nonverbal and relate to the physical traits of the source such that attractive- and competent-looking sources have better success in attracting votes and policy support. Yet, are all nonverbal source cues similarly received irrespective of audience, or does their reception vary across audiences? Specifically, we ask whether some physical traits are received positively by some audiences but backfire for others. Utilizing research on ideological stereotypes and the determinants of facial preferences, we focus on the relationship between the facial dominance of the source and the ideology of the receiver. Across five studies, we demonstrate that a dominant face is a winning face when the audience is conservative but backfires and decreases success when the audience is liberal. On the other hand, a non-dominant face constitutes a winning face among liberal audiences but backfires among conservatives. These effects seemingly stem from deep-seated psychological responses and shape both the election and communication success of real-world politicians. If the faces of politicians do not match the ideology of their constituency, they are more likely to lose in the competition for votes and policy support.
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Voters often use visual cues such as facial appearance when forming impressions of political candidates. Originally, psychological research on appearance-based politics focused on understanding whether or not these facial cues were consequential for political judgments. As this sub-field of study has expanded, the focus has shifted to understanding how and what facial cues voters utilize in their decision-making. From this perspective, inferences about political candidates are characterized by a number of interrelated appearance-based cues such as facial competence, physical attractiveness, and ingrained gender stereotypes that manifest in politicians' appearance. Importantly, this expanded research focus now includes a broader range of evaluative judgments that are influenced by candidates' facial appearance. Here, we provide an overview of the research on the use of appearance-based cues in political decision-making including initial information gathered about candidates, the evaluation of candidates' potential to be effective leaders, and the decision of whether or not to support candidates in an election.
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Cesario claims that all bias research tells us is that people “end up using the information they have come to learn as being probabilistically accurate in their daily lives” (sect. 5, para. 4). We expose Cesario's flawed assumptions about the relationship between accuracy and bias. Through statistical simulations and empirical work, we show that even probabilistically accurate responses are regularly accompanied by bias.
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Existing research debates the extent to which feminine and masculine stereotypes affect voters’ impressions of female candidates. Current approaches identify how descriptions of female candidates as having feminine or masculine qualities lead voters to rely on stereotypes. We argue that extant scholarship overlooks a critical source of stereotypic information about female candidates—the role of visual information. This manuscript explores the conditions under which voters use feminine and masculine visuals to evaluate female candidates. Drawing on theories of information processing and stereotype reliance, we develop a framework that explains when visual information will affect how voters evaluate female and male candidates. We argue that visual information that is incongruent with stereotypes about a candidate’s sex will affect candidate evaluations while visuals congruent with stereotypes about candidate sex will not. We test these dynamics with an original survey experiment. We find that gender incongruent masculine visuals negatively affect evaluations of a female candidate’s issue competencies and electoral viability.
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Research shows that conservative and right-wing individuals are more likely than liberal and left-wing individuals to prefer dominant leaders. According to adaptive followership theory, this reflects psychological mechanisms that tag dominant individuals as more competent under situations of conflict. Conservatives tend to view the world as dangerous and ridden with intergroup conflict and, hence, have heightened preferences for dominant leaders (the competence explanation). Yet, an alternative mechanism is possible, where people stereotypically associate dominant-looking leaders with conservativism such that conservatives perceive these leaders as more similar to themselves (the similarity explanation). Hence, the effects of dominance might not be a matter of perceived competence but of perceived policy agreement. This article pits these explanations about the underlying psychological mechanisms against each other. Using nationally representative survey experiments, we find support for the competence explanation by demonstrating that right-wing individuals prefer dominant candidates even if they are clearly politically closer to non-dominant candidates. This preference for dominant candidates only fades when the dominant candidates are from entirely different political parties than the right-wing individuals themselves.
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Contemporary perceivers encounter highly gendered imagery in media, social networks, and the workplace. Perceivers also express strong interpersonal biases related to targets' gendered appearances after mere glimpses at their faces. In the current studies, we explored adaptation to gendered facial features as a perceptual mechanism underlying these biases. In Study 1, brief visual exposure to highly gendered exemplars shifted perceptual norms for men's and women's faces. Studies 2-4 revealed that changes in perceptual norms were accompanied by notable shifts in social evaluations. Specifically, exposure to feminine phenotypes exacerbated biases against hypermasculine faces, whereas exposure to masculine phenotypes mitigated them. These findings replicated across multiple independent samples with diverse stimulus sets and outcome measures, revealing that perceptual gender norms are calibrated on the basis of recent visual encounters, with notable implications for downstream evaluations of others. As such, visual adaptation is a useful tool for understanding and altering social biases related to gendered facial features. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
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Studies carried out in many countries in previous decades found that women were more conservative than men and less likely to participate in politics. Here, it is examined whether this traditional gender gap persists today, or whether gender cleavages in the electorate have converged, and whether the phenomenon of the modern gender gap, with women more left wing, has become evident elsewhere. The article draws on evidence from the World Values Surveys in the early 1980s, and the early and mid-1990s carried out in over sixty countries around the world. This study establishes that gender differences in electoral behavior have been realigning, with women moving toward the left of men throughout advanced industrial societies (though not in postcommunist societies or developing countries) and explores the reasons for this development, including the role of structural and cultural factors. The conclusion considers the political implications of the findings.
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Four studies demonstrated that perceivers were able to identify the political attitudes of unknown politicians on a left–right dimension when the targets were merely shown in photographs. In Study 1, party membership provided an objective criterion for political attitudes, whereas actual voting behavior served as a validity criterion in Studies 2, 3a, and 3b. All studies yielded ratings highly chance accuracy. Additional ratings suggest that perceived dominance may partly account for the effect. Moreover, perceivers were more accurate when they rated politicians whose attitudes were opposite to their own position, reflecting a more liberal criterion for out-group than for in-group members. Finally, politicians who were rated accurately had higher chances of being reelected to the following parliamentary session.
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We estimate the effect of candidate appearance on vote choice in congressional elections using an original survey instrument. Based on estimates of the facial competence of 972 congressional candidates, we show that in more competitive races the out-party tends to run candidates with higher quality faces. We estimate the direct effect of face on vote choice when controlling for the competitiveness of the contest and for individual partisanship. Combining survey data with our facial quality scores and a measure of contest competitiveness, we find a face qual- ity effect for Senate challengers of about 4 points for independent voters and 1-3 points for partisans. While we estimate face effects that could potentially matter in close elections, we find that the challenging candidate's face is never the differ- ence between a challenger and incumbent victory in all 99 Senate elections in our study.
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A flurry of recent studies indicates that candidates who simply look more capable or attractive are more likely to win elections. In this article, the authors investigate whether voters' snap judgments of appearance travel across cultures and whether they influence elections in new democracies. They show unlabeled, black-and-white pictures of Mexican and Brazilian candidates' faces to subjects living in America and India, asking them which candidates would be better elected officials. Despite cultural, ethnic, and racial differences, Americans and Indians agree about which candidates are superficially appealing (correlations ranging from .70 to .87). Moreover, these superficial judgments appear to have a profound influence on Mexican and Brazilian voters, as the American and Indian judgments predict actual election returns with surprising accuracy. These effects, the results also suggest, may depend on the rules of the electoral game, with institutions exacerbating or mitigating the effects of appearance.
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Signal detection theory (SDT) may be applied to any area of psychology in which two different types of stimuli must be discriminated. We describe several of these areas and the advantages that can be realized through the application of SDT. Three of the most popular tasks used to study discriminability are then discussed, together with the measures that SDT prescribes for quantifying performance in these tasks. Mathematical formulae for the measures are presented, as are methods for calculating the measures with lookup tables, computer software specifically developed for SDT applications, and general purpose computer software (including spreadsheets and statistical analysis software).
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Individuals' faces communicate a great deal of information about them. Although some of this information tends to be perceptually obvious (such as race and sex), much of it is perceptually ambiguous, without clear or obvious visual cues. Here we found that individuals' political affiliations could be accurately discerned from their faces. In Study 1, perceivers were able to accurately distinguish whether U.S. Senate candidates were either Democrats or Republicans based on photos of their faces. Study 2 showed that these effects extended to Democrat and Republican college students, based on their senior yearbook photos. Study 3 then showed that these judgments were related to differences in perceived traits among the Democrat and Republican faces. Republicans were perceived as more powerful than Democrats. Moreover, as individual targets were perceived to be more powerful, they were more likely to be perceived as Republicans by others. Similarly, as individual targets were perceived to be warmer, they were more likely to be perceived as Democrats. These data suggest that perceivers' beliefs about who is a Democrat and Republican may be based on perceptions of traits stereotypically associated with the two political parties and that, indeed, the guidance of these stereotypes may lead to categorizations of others' political affiliations at rates significantly more accurate than chance guessing.
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Previous work has shown that individuals agree across cultures on the traits that they infer from faces. Previous work has also shown that inferences from faces can be predictive of important outcomes within cultures. The current research merges these two lines of work. In a series of cross-cultural studies, the authors asked American and Japanese participants to provide naïve inferences of traits from the faces of U.S. political candidates (Studies 1 and 3) and Japanese political candidates (Studies 2 and 4). Perceivers showed high agreement in their ratings of the faces, regardless of culture, and both sets of judgments were predictive of an important ecological outcome (the percentage of votes that each candidate received in the actual election). The traits predicting electoral success differed, however, depending on the targets' culture. Thus, when American and Japanese participants were asked to provide explicit inferences of how likely each candidate would be to win an election (Studies 3-4), judgments were predictive only for same-culture candidates. Attempts to infer the electoral success for the foreign culture showed evidence of self-projection. Therefore, perceivers can reliably infer predictive information from faces but require knowledge about the target's culture to make these predictions accurately.
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Signal detection theory (SDT) may be applied to any area of psychology in which two different types of stimuli must be discriminated. We describe several of these areas and the advantages that can be realized through the application of SDT. Three of the most popular tasks used to study discriminability are then discussed, together with the measures that SDT prescribes for quantifying performance in these tasks. Mathematical formulae for the measures are presented, as are methods for calculating the measures with lookup tables, computer software specifically developed for SDT applications, and general purpose computer software (including spreadsheets and statistical analysis software).
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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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Studies that combine moderation and mediation are prevalent in basic and applied psychology research. Typically, these studies are framed in terms of moderated mediation or mediated moderation, both of which involve similar analytical approaches. Unfortunately, these approaches have important shortcomings that conceal the nature of the moderated and the mediated effects under investigation. This article presents a general analytical framework for combining moderation and mediation that integrates moderated regression analysis and path analysis. This framework clarifies how moderator variables influence the paths that constitute the direct, indirect, and total effects of mediated models. The authors empirically illustrate this framework and give step-by-step instructions for estimation and interpretation. They summarize the advantages of their framework over current approaches, explain how it subsumes moderated mediation and mediated moderation, and describe how it can accommodate additional moderator and mediator variables, curvilinear relationships, and structural equation models with latent variables.
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This study investigates four hypotheses concerning relationships between values or beliefs and attitudes toward cohabitation, family and gender roles. These are the Social Concerns Hypothesis, the Political Ideology Hypothesis, the Higher Order Needs Hypothesis, and the Consumerism Hypothesis. Each hypothesis has been tested, using data from several nationally representative subsamples of white high school seniors. As predicted by the Social Concerns Hypothesis, students with more social concerns had more favorable attitudes toward gender equality and nontraditional gender roles, particularly among males. This finding suggests that, for males, concern for fairness and the well-being of others may be an important motive for support for gender equality and acceptance of nontraditional gender roles. As predicted by the Political Ideology Hypothesis, conservative political beliefs were associated with traditional attitudes toward cohabitation, family, and gender roles. In contrast, our findings provide only weak support for the Higher Order Needs Hypothesis, and our findings suggest that the Consumerism Hypothesis should be reformulated.
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Previous research has established that good-looking political candidates win more votes. We extend this line of research by examining differences between parties on the left and on the right of the political spectrum. Our study combines data on personal votes in real elections with a web survey in which 2,513 non-Finnish respondents evaluated the facial appearance of 1,357 Finnish political candidates. We find that political candidates on the right are better looking in both municipal and parliamentary elections and also have a larger beauty premium in municipal, but not in parliamentary, elections. We discuss possible explanations for these patterns, based on the fact that municipal candidates are relatively unknown.
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During the past three decades Americans have come to view the parties increasingly in gendered terms of masculinity and femininity. Utilizing three decades of American National Election Studies data and the results of a cognitive reaction-time experiment, this paper demonstrates empirically that these connections between party images and gender stereotypes have been forged at the explicit level of the traits that Americans associate with each party, and also at the implicit level of unconscious cognitive connections between gender and party stereotypes. These connections between the parties and masculinity and femininity have important implications for citizens’ political cognition and for the study of American political behavior. KeywordsPublic opinion-Party images-Masculinity-Femininity-Gender-Implicit attitudes
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We often form opinions about the characteristics of others from single, static samples of their appearance – the very first thing we see when, or even before, we meet them. These inferences occur spontaneously, rapidly, and can impact decisions in a variety of important domains. A crucial question, then, is whether appearance-based inferences are accurate. Using a naturalistic data set of more than 1 million appearance-based judgments obtained from a popular website (Study 1) and data from an online experiment involving over a thousand participants (Study 2), we evaluate the ability of human judges to infer the characteristics of others from their appearances. We find that judges are generally less accurate at predicting characteristics than they would be if they ignored appearance cues and instead only relied on their knowledge of characteristic base-rate frequencies. The findings suggest that appearances are overweighed in judgments and can have detrimental effects on accuracy. We conclude that future research should (i) identify the specific visual cues that people use when they draw inferences from appearances, (ii) determine which of these cues promote or hinder accurate social judgments, and (iii) examine how inference goals and contexts moderate the use and diagnostic validity of these cues.
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Here we show that rapid judgments of competence based solely on the facial appearance of candidates predicted the outcomes of gubernatorial elections, the most important elections in the United States next to the presidential elections. In all experiments, participants were presented with the faces of the winner and the runner-up and asked to decide who is more competent. To ensure that competence judgments were based solely on facial appearance and not on prior person knowledge, judgments for races in which the participant recognized any of the faces were excluded from all analyses. Predictions were as accurate after a 100-ms exposure to the faces of the winner and the runner-up as exposure after 250 ms and unlimited time exposure (Experiment 1). Asking participants to deliberate and make a good judgment dramatically increased the response times and reduced the predictive accuracy of judgments relative to both judgments made after 250 ms of exposure to the faces and judgments made within a response deadline of 2 s (Experiment 2). Finally, competence judgments collected before the elections in 2006 predicted 68.6% of the gubernatorial races and 72.4% of the Senate races (Experiment 3). These effects were independent of the incumbency status of the candidates. The findings suggest that rapid, unreflective judgments of competence from faces can affect voting decisions. • face perception • social judgments • voting decisions
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This paper presents a method for face recognition across variations in pose, ranging from frontal to profile views, and across a wide range of illuminations, including cast shadows and specular reflections. To account for these variations, the algorithm simulates the process of image formation in 3D space, using computer graphics, and it estimates 3D shape and texture of faces from single images. The estimate is achieved by fitting a statistical, morphable model of 3D faces to images. The model is learned from a set of textured 3D scans of heads. We describe the construction of the morphable model, an algorithm to fit the model to images, and a framework for face identification. In this framework, faces are represented by model parameters for 3D shape and texture. We present results obtained with 4,488 images from the publicly available CMU-PIE database and 1,940 images from the FERET database.
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In this paper, a new technique for modeling textured 3D faces is introduced. 3D faces can either be generated automatically from one or more photographs, or modeled directly through an intuitive user interface. Users are assisted in two key problems of computer aided face modeling. First, new face images or new 3D face models can be registered automatically by computing dense one-to-one correspondence to an internal face model. Second, the approach regulates the naturalness of modeled faces avoiding faces with an "unlikely" appearance.
The right look: Conservative politicians look better and their voters reward it. IZA Discussion Paper (pp. 5513) Available at SSRN: http://ssrn A morphable model for the synthesis of 3D faces
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Wänke, M., Samochowiec, J., & Landwehr, J. (2012). Facial politics: Political judgment based on looks. In J. Forgas, K. Fiedler, & C. Sedikides (Eds.), Social thinking and in-terpersonal behavior: Proceedings of the 14th Sydney symposium of social psychology. New York: Psychology Press.