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Beauty is in the Eye of Politics, Attraction Study

Update Date: Oct 15, 2014 05:17 PM EDT

Politics can influence our perceptions of beauty. New research reveals that we find our candidate to be more attractive those from other political affiliations.

"We showed pictures of familiar and unfamiliar political leaders to voters in two different samples and found that familiarity and partisanship each significantly influenced how candidates were perceived," lead researcher Kevin M. Kniffin, a postdoctoral research associate at Cornell's Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, said in a news release. "For example, Democrats rated Barack Obama as more physically attractive, and Republicans tended to rate Sarah Palin as better looking."

Kniffin said that latest study show that people view pictures "through partisan-colored lenses," according to the press release.

Researchers said they were able to remove the "partisan-colored" lenses by asking participants to judge the attractiveness of unfamiliar political leaders in unlabeled pictures. Participants in this study showed no political bias in terms of judging attractiveness, according to researchers.

"There's no 'Republican look' or 'Democrat hairdo,'" Kniffin said. "If you don't recognize political leaders and can't view them through partisan lenses, they don't have the halos or horns that influence perceptions of familiar leaders."

The study, "Beauty is in the in-group of the beholded: Intergroup differences in the perceived attractiveness of leaders" was published Oct. 15 in The Leadership Quarterly.

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