Can You Judge A Politician By Their Looks?

We all know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but if we’re being honest we all do it on occasion anyway. Could it be that we also elect our politicians just based on how they look? Of course, there’s the old idea of looking “presidential”, but how much power does that really have to sway an election? A famous paper by University of Chicago behavioral scientist Alexander Todorov provides us with some surprising insights. Just by flashing two faces of competing politicians for mere seconds, participants were able to accurately judge the outcomes of elections based on how competent they thought the politicians looked. It’s a curious finding that raises more questions than it answers, and we dig into both on this episode.

Om Podcasten

With all the noise created by a 24/7 news cycle, it can be hard to really grasp what's going on in politics today. We provide a fresh perspective on the biggest political stories not through opinion and anecdotes, but rigorous scholarship, massive data sets and a deep knowledge of theory. Understand the political science beyond the headlines with Harris School of Public Policy Professors William Howell, Anthony Fowler and Wioletta Dziuda. Our show is part of the University of Chicago Podcast Network.