Do I Look All Right (or All Left)? The Interactive Effect of Facial Appearance and Political Attitudes on Social Attraction
Research has documented that adults with baby faces are perceived as possessing different personality characteristics than those with mature-looking faces. Recently, studies have also shown that different faces are associated with different political affiliations. Therefore, we assumed that people with babyish faces would be perceived as having left-wing attitudes and mature-faced people would be perceived as having right-wing attitudes. Moreover, based on the status incongruity hypothesis and on research documenting people’s preferences for those who do not violate expectations, we predicted that people whose faces are congruent with their stated political attitudes would be perceived as more socially and physically attractive. An experiment we conducted confirmed these hypotheses and documented that the occurrence of these effects depends on the similarity of attitudes between the participants and the target people.