Trait Evaluations Based on Perceptions of Candidate Faces
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Trait Evaluations Based on Perceptions of Candidate Faces


There continues to be a dearth of women as political leaders in all levels of office. It should be no surprise that women candidates face barriers in running for office with no clear tools or guidance on how to mitigate these challenges. How candidates look in appearance consistently proves to be influential on voter behavior. Gendered stereotypes also have been shown to be consequential for women candidates. This study tested whether gendered stereotypes (e.g., warmth and competence) can be reliably perceived in hypothetical women candidates’ faces. This study also examined whether these perceptions of warmth and competence affect voter likelihood, candidate likeability, and perceptions of leadership and knowledge. These questions were tested through a reverse correlation image task which serves to eliminate apriori assumptions about the traits of interest. The methodology included three phases the pre-test (N =52), the generator phase (N = 450), and the rater phase (N = 303) . All participants were recruited from a public southern California university. Results indicated no support for the main hypotheses. Additional results replicated existing research and added to the body of literature. Implications are discussed. Keywords face perception, gendered stereotypes, political decision making, reverse correlations

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