THE EYES HAVE IT
(Hint: Make your choice in 2 seconds or less)
Seeing is believing --even in politics -- according to a new National Academy of Sciences study by two Princeton University psychologists. The March edition of The Atlantic reports on a scientific study that found that undergraduate students were able to pick winners of past elections more than 60 percent of the time just by looking at them.
In two experiments, the students were shown the faces of winners and runner-ups in past gubernatorial elections and were asked to choose the more "competent" person, based on a gut feeling. The Princeton study based their question on earlier research showing that people consider competence one of the most important traits in a politician.
The study resulted in the students picking the winner more than 60 percent of the time. In a third, separate experiment, conducted just two weeks before the 2006 elections -- students picked the winner in 68.6 percent of the Governor's races and a staggering 72.4 percent of the U.S. Senate races. If the student recognized a candidate, the result was thrown out. (So, unfortunately, the great majority of you reading this can't play.)
The Atlantic reports, "Looking longer didn't improve accuracy. Students who were instructed to 'deliberate' did worse than those who made a decision in two seconds or less."