Tag: competence

Voters use child-like judgments when judging political candidates

By Ed Yong | February 26, 2009 2:00 pm

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed ResearchDuring elections, what affects our decision to vote for one politician over another? We’d like to think that it’s an objective assessment of many different factors including their various policies, their values, their record and so on. But in reality, voters are just not that rational.

In the past, studies have shown that people can predict which of two politicians will win an election with reasonable accuracy based on a second-long looks at their faces. With a fleeting glance and little purposeful consideration, people make strong judgments about a candidate’s competence, that can sway their final choices. And they do this in a remarkably child-like way.

John Antonakis and Olaf Dalgas from the University of Lausanne found that when judging the faces of potential leaders, the decision-making technique of adults is no more sophisticated than that used by children.

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