PRINCETON, N.J., June 15 (UPI) — U.S. and British scientists say many voters aren’t very sophisticated, with their choices heavily influenced by superficial, cues, such as facial appearance.
Princeton University Associate Professor Alexander Todorov and postdoctoral student Christopher Olivola of University College London said they found voters make judgments about politicians’ competence based on such factors as facial appearance and those appearance-based competence judgments can reliably predict both individual voting decisions and election outcomes.
The researchers said they determined the potential impact of appearance is most likely to influence less knowledgeable voters who watch a lot of television.
“Getting people to overcome the influence of first impressions will not be an easy task,” the researchers said. “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.”
The findings appear in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior.
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