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November 02, 2013


Why Attractive Candidates Often Win

Psychological Science: "Some researchers have posited that it occurs because people ascribe generally positive characteristics to physically attractive candidates. We propose an alternative explanation--that leadership preferences are related to functional disease-avoidance mechanisms. Because physical attractiveness is a cue to health, people concerned with disease should especially prefer physically attractive leaders."

"Using real-world voting data and laboratory-based experiments, we found support for this relationship. In congressional districts with elevated disease threats, physically attractive candidates are more likely to be elected (Study 1). Experimentally activating disease concerns leads people to especially value physical attractiveness in leaders (Study 2) and prefer more physically attractive political candidates (Study 3). In a final study, we demonstrated that these findings are related to leadership preferences, specifically, rather than preferences for physically attractive group members more generally (Study 4)."














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