Prof. Dr. Jan Landwehr (Goethe-University Frankfurt):
"Facial politics: The effect of a politician's facial characteristics on voting behavior"
(with Michaela Wänke)
Thursday, October 22, 02:00pm - 04:00pm (WiSo Building, Room 410)
Election campaigns usually depict a candidate´s face which suggests that voters include this piece of information into their electoral choice. The present research puts this assumption to the test by examining which concrete facial features of a politician are predictive of an electoral outcome. An exploratory survey, a confirmatory experiment, and an analysis of the 2009 German federal election provides converging evidence that the size of the eyes, the mouth, and the eyebrows are the three key facial features that influence voting behavior. In particular, big eyes, a wide mouth, and small eyebrows increase the likelihood of winning an election. The effect is small but consistent and can be considered a tipping factor in head-to-head electoral races.