War-torn nation prefer macho leaders, peaceful go for pretty faces

April 28th, 2009 - 4:33 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Apr 28 (ANI): In times of war and crisis, people tend to choose masculine-looking leaders to lead them, a new study has found.

While in peaceful times, they prefer feminine-looking politicians, the study showed.

Brian Spisak and Mark Van Vugt at the University of Kent, UK used image manipulation on photographs to find out whether facial characteristics influence people’s choice of leaders.

In the study, researchers showed pictures to 118 volunteers, and asked them to choose one as the leader for different scenarios ranging from war to transition periods to peacetime, reports New Scientist.

The researchers also altered the male and female faces to look older or younger, and then asked 145 volunteers to pick a leader given the same scenarios.

During times of war, the volunteers preferred masculine or older faces, while they picked feminine faces when inter-group peacekeeping was the priority.

Interestingly, gender was irrelevant - with masculine-looking women picked over feminine-looking males during times of war, and vice versa, the study found.

“This suggests that traditional classifications of male and female are not as relevant a cue as we might think,” says Spisak, who spoke at a meeting of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association in St Andrews, UK, earlier this month.

Spisak and Van Vugt also found that youthful faces were preferred during times of transition and stability - with young females the leaders of choice. (ANI)

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