Judging Personality

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Judging political orientation from College students’ faces.


In the year of 2008, Barack Obama was nominated as the Democratic candidate, while McCain was Republican candidate, and the two engaged in three presidential debates. They represented for the different party that held different ideology of policy. Obama opposed tax reduction of Bush government to the rich people whose annual income are more than 250,000 dollars, set him against Iraq war, supported re-negotiation of NAFTA and the free trade between Peru and America, stood up for ‘mainly paid by employee’ health insurance systems and imposing the ‘State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)’ to cover uninsured children (Levey, 2009), and emphasized that diplomatic negotiation is far more important than military action. While McCain backed up extending Bush government’s income tax reduction and planed to reduce tax rate of enterprise from 35% to 25%, supported Iraq war and free trade with Columbia, Korea and Panama, opposed any change to NAFTA and the implementation of state health insurance plan of federal government, and called on that America must perform more positively and powerfully on the international diplomatic stage. Although the representative of Liberal Democrat- Obama won in the debate and became the 44th President of the United States, we cannot just ignore the important role, which was played by the Conservative Republican. The Republican and Democrat have done so seems to be driven by different sets of ideology- Conservative and Liberal. This research examines whether other people can evaluate these two political orientations by just looking at the faces of these people, and whether same ethnicity will make the judgement more accurately.

The importance of face judgement

As we known that accurate person perception is highly important for social interaction and for the individuals’ goal attainment (Schaller, 2008; Zebrowitz & Montepare, 2006). Based on the evolutionary theory, the accurate judgment of other people’s attributes and identification of friends and foes are considered as adaptive prediction skills (Jakub, 2010). Although our nonverbal behaviors or our physical appearance can be the communicator of information about our traits or personality, face is the best communicator that tells us most. Some characteristics are obvious like our age, race, while some less obvious information can also be discovered from face, like sexual orientation (Rule et al 2009), or even political affiliation (Jakub, 2010).

Conservative and liberal political orientation
Conservative political orientation promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and minimal changes in society. People who were conservatism seek to preserve the situations and the things as they are, emphasizing stability, conformity, order, and hierarchy, or may oppose the modernism. Conservatism is historically associated with right-wing politics. And conservative policies emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems. Liberal political orientation supports liberty and equality, progress, and flexibility, and people hold this ideology believes in the human rights, liberal democracy, and capitalism. And Liberalism is always considered as left-wing politics. And it is generally emphasize the need for the government to solve problems.

Previous research

Some studies have examined many personality traits based on the judgments of full body photos, the trait include political orientation (Laura 2009). Political orientation somehow manifest in observables (Ambady et al., 2000; Zebrowitz & Collins, 1997). Like people hold different political altitude may favor different appearance styles. As conservatism is defined as oppose toward social change and support hierarchy, politically conservative people tend to emphasize a high social status by their choice of clothes, or hairstyle. There is also...
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