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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Facial appearance affects voting decisions
Author(s): Little, Anthony
Burriss, Robert
Jones, Benedict C
Roberts, S Craig
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Keywords: faces
Social perception
Leadership Social aspects
Issue Date: Jan-2007
Date Deposited: 23-Feb-2009
Citation: Little A, Burriss R, Jones BC & Roberts SC (2007) Facial appearance affects voting decisions. <i>Evolution and Human Behavior</i>, 28 (1), pp. 18-27.;
Abstract: Human groups are unusual among primates in that our leaders are often 5 democratically selected. Many social judgements are made using only facial 6 information and here we examined the potential influence of facial perceptions 7 on leadership elections. We address this possibility using a case study of the 8 2004 US presidential candidates George Bush and John Kerry. We removed 9 recognition effects by applying the difference between their faces to a neutral, 10 unfamiliar face, and then measured how the difference in their facial 11 physiognomies influenced attributions and hypothetical voting decisions. The 12 ‘plus-Bush’ and ‘plus-Kerry’ faces were seen to possess different but 13 potentially valued leadership traits. For voting, preference for face version was 14 context-dependent. Raters preferred the plus-Bush face as a war-time leader 15 and the plus-Kerry face as a peace-time leader. We also examined voting to 16 computer graphic manipulations of masculinity showing that masculine faces 17 were voted for more in war-time and feminine faces in peace-time contexts, 18 suggesting that attitudes to sexual dimorphism in faces play an important role 19 in voting decisions. Both findings demonstrate that voter’s attitudes to the 20 physical appearance of politicians may interact with their perceptions of the 21 current political climate to determine voting behaviour. Such flexible 22 leadership choice may reflect the selection of leaders who are most beneficial 23 to the individuals of a group at a particular time or in a particular situation.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2006.09.002
Rights: Accepted refereed manuscript of: Little A, Burriss R, Jones BC & Roberts SC (2007) Facial appearance affects voting decisions. Evolution and Human Behavior, 28 (1), pp. 18-27. © 2007, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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