Researchers have found that snap decisions about how 'competent' a politician looks, based solely on a picture of the politician's face, are good predictors of the outcome of elections. In work published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers quickly showed college students images of politicians running for office in other parts of the country and asked them to choose the one that they felt looked 'more competent.' Amazingly, the snap decisions made by those students ended up reflecting the actual outcome of senate and gubernatorial elections over two-thirds of the time.
In this segment, Ira talks with psychologist Alexander Todorov, one of the authors of the study, about what it means.
Produced by Charles Bergquist, Director and Contributing Producer