Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

On the face of it, voting's superficial

Date:
June 15, 2010
Source:
Springer
Summary:
Voters make judgments about politicians' competence based on their facial appearance and these appearance-based competence judgments reliably predict both voting decisions and election outcomes.

Are voters truly sophisticated and rational decision makers? Apparently not. Their choices are heavily influenced by superficial, nonverbal cues, such as politicians' appearance, according to Christopher Olivola from University College London in the UK and Alexander Todorov from Princeton University in the US. According to their findings1, voters make judgments about politicians' competence based on their facial appearance and these appearance-based competence judgments reliably predict both voting decisions and election outcomes.

Related Articles


The research is published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, a Springer publication.

The researchers also discuss the potential impact of these judgments on actual voters and show that appearance is most likely to influence less knowledgeable voters who watch a lot of television, a finding consistent with psychological models of persuasion.Research to date suggests that rapid judgments about the personality traits of political candidates, based solely on their appearance, can predict their electoral success. In other words, voters rely heavily on appearances when choosing which candidate to elect. Since voters need to navigate their way through the flood of information available about candidates in order to make fully informed choices, it is no surprise that they take mental shortcuts to get to their final decision.

After reviewing the published literature on this topic, the authors then introduce a computer model of facial personality traits to identify the particular facial features associated with competence judgments. By manipulating the degree of competence of faces on a screen, they are able to show that facial maturity and physical attractiveness are the two main criteria used by participants to make competence judgments.

Olivola and Todorov conclude: "Getting people to overcome the influence of first impressions will not be an easy task. The speed, automaticity, and implicit nature of appearance-based trait inferences make them particularly hard to correct. Moreover, often people don't even recognize that they are forming judgments about others from their appearances."So how should the impact of appearances in politics be mitigated? According to the authors: "Controlling exposure to television and other media would be extremely difficult, so educating voters is likely to be a more realistic strategy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christopher Y. Olivola, Alexander Todorov. Elected in 100 milliseconds: Appearance-Based Trait Inferences and Voting. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 2010; 34 (2): 83 DOI: 10.1007/s10919-009-0082-1

Cite This Page:

Springer. "On the face of it, voting's superficial." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615105330.htm>.
Springer. (2010, June 15). On the face of it, voting's superficial. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615105330.htm
Springer. "On the face of it, voting's superficial." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615105330.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) This is the latest development in an antitrust investigation accusing Google of unfairly prioritizing own products and services in search results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins