Creating a political image: Shaping appearance and manipulating the vote
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
The key question addressed is whether political consultants can shape a candidate's appearance in such a way as to influence voters' preferences. To explore this question, an attempt was made to discover the components of a favorable political image and then use that information to manipulate voters' preferences. Photographs of over 200 women were analyzed and the features of the women's appearance which affected the quality of the image projected were isolated. Using this information, a make-up artist and photographer were employed to shape the appearance of six women. Photographs of the women were then placed on campaign flyers along with information on the women's political party affiliation and their position on several key issues. Pairs of flyers were used to create mock elections. The result of these elections suggest that it is possible to shape a political candidate's image in a way which may effect electoral outcomes. The implications of this for electoral politics are discussed.
- Berry, D.S., and L.Z. McArthur (1985). Some components and consequences of a babyface.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 48: 312–323.
- Berry, D.S., and L.Z. McArthur (1986). Perceiving character in faces: The impact of age-related craniofacial changes on social perception. Psychological Bulletin 100: 3–18.
- Berscheid, E., and E. Walster (1974). Physical attractiveness. In L. Berkowitz (ed.),Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 7, New York: Academic Press.
- Bishop, G., D.L. Hamilton, and J.B. McConahay (1980). Attitudes and non-attitudes in the belief systems of mass publics.Journal of Social Psychology 110: 53–64.
- Converse, P.E. (1964). The nature of belief systems in mass publics. In D. Apter (ed.),Ideology and Disconstent, New York: Free Pres.
- Erickson, F. (1979). Talking down: Some cultural sources of miscommunication in interracial interviews. In A. Wolfgang (ed.),Nonverbal Behavior: Applications and Cultural Implications. New York: Academic Press.
- Gibson, J.J. (1979).The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
- Hugo, G.T., J.T. Lanzetta, D.G. Sullivan, R.D. Masters, and B.G. Englis (1985). Emotional reactions to expressive displays of a political leader.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 49: 1513–1529.
- Kelly, S., Jr., and T. Mirer (1974). The simple act of voting.American Political Science Review 68: 572–591.
- Kinder, D.R., and R.P. Abelson (1981). Appraising Presidential Candidates: Personality and Affect in the 1980 Campaign. Paper delivered at the 1981 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, New York.
- Markus, G.B., and P.E. Converse (1979). A dynamic simultaneous equation model of electoral choice.American Political Science Review 73: 1055–1070.
- Masters, R.D., and D.G. Sullivan (1989). Nonverbal displays and political leadership in France and the United States.Political Behavior 11: 123–156.
- McArthur, L.Z., and K. Apatow (1983/1984). Impression of baby-faced adults.Social Cognition 2: 315–342.
- Mehrabian, A. (1981).Silent Messages. Belmont, CA: Wasworth.
- Miller, A., M. Wattenberg, and O. Malanchuk (1986). Schematic assessments of presidential candidates.American Political Science Review 80: 521–540.
- Rosenberg, S.W., and P. McCafferty (1987). The image and the vote: Manipulating voters' preferences.Public Opinion Quarterly 51: 31–47.
- Rosenberg, S.W., L. Bohan, P. McCafferty, and K. Harris (1986). The image and the vote: The effect of candidate presentation on voter preference.American Journal of Political Science 30: 108–127.
- Secord, P.F. (1958). Facial features and inferential processes in interpersonal perception. In R. Tagivri and L. Petrullo (eds.),Person Perception and Interpersonal Behavior. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
- Sigelman, L., C.K. Sigelman, and C. Fowler (1987). A bird of a different feather? An experimental investigation of physical attractiveness and the electability of female candidates.Social Psychological Quarterly, 50: 32–43.
- Sullivan, D.G., and R.D. Masters (1988). Happy Warriors: Leaders' facial displays, viewers' emotions and political support.American Journal of Political Science 32: 345–368.
- Sullivan, J.L., J.E. Pierson, and G.E. Marcus (1978). Ideological constraint in the mass public: A methodological critique and some new findings.American Journal of Political Science 22: 233–249.
- Creating a political image: Shaping appearance and manipulating the vote
Volume 13, Issue 4 , pp 345-367
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
- Additional Links
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Graduate Concentration in Political Psychology, School of Social Sciences, University of California, 92717, Irvine, California
- 2. Graduate School of Business, Boston University, 02215, Boston, Massachusetts
- 3. University of California, 92717, Irvine, California