Right-wing politicians prefer the emotional left

Nicole A. Thomas, Tobias Loetscher, Danielle Clode, Michael E.R. Nicholls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Physiological research suggests that social attitudes, such as political beliefs, may be partly hard-wired in the brain. Conservatives have heightened sensitivity for detecting emotional faces and use emotion more effectively when campaigning. As the left face displays emotion more prominently, we examined 1538 official photographs of conservative and liberal politicians from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States for an asymmetry in posing. Across nations, conservatives were more likely than liberals to display the left cheek. In contrast, liberals were more likely to face forward than were conservatives. Emotion is important in political campaigning and as portraits influence voting decisions, conservative politicians may intuitively display the left face to convey emotion to voters.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere36552
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume7
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2012
Externally publishedYes

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