Looking the Part

As part of his study on the impact of candidates’ appearance on voters, UCI political science Prof. Shawn Rosenberg had a cosmetic make-over done on two volunteers.

The pictures at the left show the “candidates” at their greatest visual disadvantage. Forty-five minutes later, they had been transformed into what voters prefer, as confirmed by later studies.

Clothing went from informal to formal, hair from long to short and combed to the side, not straight back or in bangs. Through makeup, the faces were made broader, the jaws more angular, the lips thinner, the eyebrows lighter.

“In general, we did things to try to age the person. We’d gray the hair out, put in wrinkles. The older, the better,” Rosenberg says. And a toothy smile is preferred to a straight face.