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Democrats and republicans can be differentiated from their faces.

Rule NO, Ambady N - PLoS ONE (2010)

Bottom Line: Here we found that individuals' political affiliations could be accurately discerned from their faces.Study 2 showed that these effects extended to Democrat and Republican college students, based on their senior yearbook photos.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.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, United States of America. nicholas.rule@tufts.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: 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.

Methodology/principal findings: 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.

Conclusions/significance: 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.

Show MeSH
Relationship between the likelihood with which a target was perceived to be a Democrat in Study 2 and the mean Power rating for that target based on naïve judges' perceptions in Study 3.
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pone-0008733-g003: Relationship between the likelihood with which a target was perceived to be a Democrat in Study 2 and the mean Power rating for that target based on naïve judges' perceptions in Study 3.

Mentions: We next wanted to explore how participants' perceptions of who were Democrats and Republicans (based on the judgments made in Study 2) might relate to perceptions of the targets in terms of Power and Warmth. We therefore calculated for each target the percentage of perceivers who had categorized the target as a Democrat in Study 2 and correlated these values with both Power and Warmth. This analysis showed that those targets perceived as Republicans were rated as greater in Power [r(58) = −.33, p = .01] whereas those targets perceived as Democrats were rated as greater in Warmth [r(58) = .40, p = .001]; see Figures 3 and 4. Again, statistically removing the effect of target gender did not change these results: rPower(57) = −.34, p<.01; rWarmth(57) = .39, p = .002.


Democrats and republicans can be differentiated from their faces.

Rule NO, Ambady N - PLoS ONE (2010)

Relationship between the likelihood with which a target was perceived to be a Democrat in Study 2 and the mean Power rating for that target based on naïve judges' perceptions in Study 3.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2807452&req=5

pone-0008733-g003: Relationship between the likelihood with which a target was perceived to be a Democrat in Study 2 and the mean Power rating for that target based on naïve judges' perceptions in Study 3.
Mentions: We next wanted to explore how participants' perceptions of who were Democrats and Republicans (based on the judgments made in Study 2) might relate to perceptions of the targets in terms of Power and Warmth. We therefore calculated for each target the percentage of perceivers who had categorized the target as a Democrat in Study 2 and correlated these values with both Power and Warmth. This analysis showed that those targets perceived as Republicans were rated as greater in Power [r(58) = −.33, p = .01] whereas those targets perceived as Democrats were rated as greater in Warmth [r(58) = .40, p = .001]; see Figures 3 and 4. Again, statistically removing the effect of target gender did not change these results: rPower(57) = −.34, p<.01; rWarmth(57) = .39, p = .002.

Bottom Line: Here we found that individuals' political affiliations could be accurately discerned from their faces.Study 2 showed that these effects extended to Democrat and Republican college students, based on their senior yearbook photos.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.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, United States of America. nicholas.rule@tufts.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: 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.

Methodology/principal findings: 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.

Conclusions/significance: 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.

Show MeSH