Can people detect ideological stance from facial photographs?

Saxton, Tamsin, Hart, Sophie, Desai, Lucy and Pollet, Thomas (2019) Can people detect ideological stance from facial photographs? Human Ethology, 34. pp. 17-25. ISSN 2224-4476

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.22330/he/34/017-025

Abstract

Nonverbal cues are instrumental in animal social interactions, and humans place especial value on facial appearance and displays to predict and interpret others’ behaviours. Several studies have reported that people can judge someone’s political orientation (e.g. Republican vs Democrat) based on facial appearance at greater-than-chance accuracy. This begs the question of the granularity of such judgements. Here, we investigate whether people can judge one aspect of political orientation (attitudes to immigration) based on the facial photographs that politicians use to represent themselves on the European Parliament website. We find no evidence of such ability, and no evidence for an interaction between the judges’ own attitudes to immigration and their accuracy. While many studies report facial manifestations of attitudinal and behavioural proclivities, facial appearance may be a relatively impoverished cue.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: appearance; face judgements; thin slices
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2019 16:25
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 08:37
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/38676

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