Study: Democrats and Republicans Can Be Differentiated from Their Faces


A study by Nicholas O. Rule and Nalini Ambady at Tufts University in Medford, MA, concludes that people can detect a person’s political affiliation and policy leanings based on a static, grayscale, cropped photograph of the politician’s face.

No, really. This is what your 18 year-old will be studying after graduating and paying his (your) $100,000 in university tuition.

Furthermore, at least one aspect of the study, which was “conducted in the northeastern U.S. where stereotypes about the personalities related to particular political affiliations may be different from those in other areas of the country” and “is typically characterized by Democrat political leadership and support for liberal legislative perspectives” (gee. ya think?), was based on sample size of 23 Democrats and 6 Republicans.  The primary descriptors used in the study to differentiate between Democrat and Republican were, respectively, “warmth” and “power”.

That’s right.

I’d love to see this study replicated in other parts of the country such as, say, Texas, Utah, Montana, or Florida, where the bias against “old white guys” and in favor of “young goatee guys” is less pronounced.

I also wonder whether Rahm Emanuel, Harry Reid, or Nancy Pelosi were included in any of the mugshots, and what the outcome of their “warmth” vs. “power” aura detection was.

My guess is that this would never happen since those of us in “flyover country” aren’t so much concerned about whether a person “looks like” a Democrat, a Republican, or Minnie Pearl.

No, the rest of us care about what a person actually promises on the campaign trail and later what that person does while in office.

Let’s just vote on the politician’s record and leave the beauty contests having to do with “warmth” vs. “power” in the Miss America pageant.

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