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Leader’s electability depends on his face, voter’s culture

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Washington: According to recent study, a winning face actually depends on the culture of the voter.

In the study of elections comparing candidate faces in the U.S. and Taiwan, researchers showed that in winning an actual election, perceived competence plays a more important role for candidates in the U.S. than for those in Taiwan.

In contrast, perceived social competence was more vital for candidates in Taiwan than for those in the U.S.

For the study, participants in the U.S. and Taiwan were presented with pairs of faces of competing political candidates who were running against each other. The faces were randomly selected from an image pool of U.S. political candidates (U.S. Senate) and Taiwanese political candidates (Taiwan Legislative Yuan) in past elections.

“The functions of the basic dimensions of social perception and judgment are culturally bound,” says Dr. Fang Fang Chen from the University of Delaware.

U.S. individualism makes the trait of competence, such as getting things done, a higher value for U.S. voters than a more closely knit culture like Taiwan, where social competence is more valued, according to the researchers.

The authors recognize that in actual elections, voters assess other important information including party affiliation and views on significant issues.

In addition to understanding how culture influences voters’ preferences in different societies, the research also applies to the changing global economy.

“As the U.S. is becoming increasingly multicultural and global business is on the rise, it is essential to understand the influence of culture on the basic principles in the perception and judgment of social targets, which has direct impact on daily social interactions, job evaluations and promotion, and the selection of leaders,” says Chen.

The results appear in Social Psychological and Personality Science. (ANI)

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