Politiker med barnsligt ansikte

I ”Appearance DOES Matter”, publicerad i Science, menar Leslie Zebrowitz och Joann Montepare att framgångar i politiska val kan predikteras med hur barnsliga drag politiska kandidater har. De skriver:

kandidaterTake a look at these two snapshots (see the figure). Which man is more babyfaced? Most viewers would say it’s the person on the right. And that’s the person who lost a 2004 U.S. congressional election to his more mature-faced and competent-looking opponent.

I en ny studie, ”Faces of Politicians”, publicerad i Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, undersöker jag och mina två medförfattare Henrik Jordahl och Panu Poutvaara om denna hypotes stämmer i finska val. Vi finner inte stöd för den:

Recent research has documented that competent-looking political candidates do better in US elections and that babyfaced individuals are generally perceived to be less competent than maturefaced individuals. Taken together, this suggests that babyfaced political candidates are perceived as less competent and therefore fare worse in elections. We test this hypothesis, making use of photograph-based judgments by 2772 respondents of the facial appearance of 1785 Finnish political candidates. Our results confirm that babyfacedness is negatively related to inferred competence in politics. Despite this, babyfacedness is either unrelated or positively related to electoral success, depending on the sample of candidates.

Skönt att höra för politiska kandidater med barnsliga ansikten, måhända. Däremot är det alltså fortfarande så, att personer med barnsligt ansikte uppfattas som mindre kompetenta, vilket ändå kan ge visst smolk i glädjebägaren.

Om någon skulle vilja erhålla hela studien som pdf-fil, går det bra att mejla mig.