, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 15-27

The effects of physical and vocal attractiveness on impression formation of politicians

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Abstract

In order to investigate the nature of the combination of varying levels of vocal and physical attractiveness on the perception of hypothetical political candidates, 90 adults rated photographs of target politicians on scales for the dimensions of competency, trustworthiness, qualification, and leadership ability. It was hypothesized and confirmed that the halo effect (higher ratings for highly attractive targets) elicited by physical attractiveness is stronger and more robust than the halo effect elicited by vocal attractiveness; however vocal attractiveness did impact the perception of the candidates by lowering the ratings associated with candidates that were presented as highly attractive but possessing an unattractive voice.

This work was sponsored by the Jean D. Smith Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. We are grateful to Donald Bucolo for helpful comments.