Have Faith in the Voting Public

When we walk into a voting booth and cast our vote, we like to think that we are making a considered decision, based on the issues. After all, a properly functioning democratic system, which gives its citizens the power to choose their leaders and shape critical policies, requires that voters are, for the most part, rational and that society can trust them to make sound judgments.
And yet, this is exactly what a recent study in the journal Science has found. The study, conducted by psychologists John Antonakis and Olaf Dalgas at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, shows that Swiss children as young as five years can predict which candidates are more likely to win French parliamentary elections.

This finding contributes to a large and growing body of evidence, coming from many research groups, which shows that voters seem to be heavily influenced by a candidate’s appearance, and in particular the kinds of personality traits that a politician’s face projects.