The Politics of Beauty: The Effects of Partisan Bias on Physical Attractiveness
- 1.6k Downloads
Does politics cause people to be perceived as more or less attractive? As a type of social identity, party identifiers often exhibit in-group bias, positively evaluating members of their own party and, especially under conditions of competition, negatively evaluating out-party members. The current experiment tests whether political in-party and out-party status affects perceptions of the physical attractiveness of target persons. In a nationally representative internet sample of U.S. adults during the 2012 presidential election, we presented participants with photos of individuals and varied information about their presidential candidate preference. Results indicate that partisans, regardless of gender, rate target individuals as less attractive if they hold a dissimilar candidate preference. Female partisans, however, were more likely to rate target persons as more physically attractive when they held a similar candidate preference whereas no such effect was found for male partisans.
KeywordsPhysical attractiveness Party identification Party cues Social judgment Partisan polarization Social distance Mate selection
We would like to thank Matt DeBell, Diane Felmlee, and Alex Theodoridis for helpful comments and suggestions.
- Campbell, A., Converse, P. E., Miller, W. E., & Stokes, D. E. (1960). The American Voter. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Converse, P. E. (1964). The nature of belief systems in mass politics. In D. E. Apter (Ed.), Ideology and discontent (pp. 206–261). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- Fiorina, M. P., Abrams, S. J., & Pope, J. C. (2005). Culture war? The myth of a polarized America. New York: Pearson Longman.Google Scholar
- Hamermesh, D. S. (2011). Beauty pays: Why attractive people are more successful. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Huber, G., & Malhotra, N. (2013). Dimensions of political homophily: Isolating choice homophily along political characteristics. Paper presented at the American Political Science Association annual meeting, New Orleans, LA.Google Scholar
- Keith, B. E., Magleby, D. B., Nelson, C. J., Orr, E., & Westlye, M. C. (1992). The myth of the independent voter. Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Kernell, S., Jacobson, G. C., & Kousser, T. (2012). The logic of American politics (5th edn.). Los Angeles: CQ Press.Google Scholar
- McCarty, N., Poole, K. T., & Rosenthal, H. (2006). Polarized America: The dance of ideology and unequal riches. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Sniderman, P. M., & Stiglitz, E. H. (2012). The reputational premium. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Swami, V., & Furnham, A. (2008). The psychology of physical attraction. New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar