Shallow Cues With Deep Effects: Trait Judgments From Faces and Voting Decisions

Crystal C. Hall, Amir Goren, Shelly Chaiken, Alexander Todorov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


This chapter examines the impact of rapid automatic processes in political decision making. Specifically, using a dual-process framework, it argues that individuals assess candidate competence on the basis of facial appearance, and that this can predict the outcomes of both U.S. congressional and gubernatorial elections. These judgments occur quickly, and are largely independent of controlled processes. These findings illustrate the complexity of electoral decision making in complicated information environments, and suggest that even though individuals may not realize it, they often have little control over their initial impressions. The chapter concludes by examining how these findings inform our understanding of electoral politics, political persuasion, and democratic citizenship more generally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Political Psychology of Democratic Citizenship
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199893904
ISBN (Print)9780195335453
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


  • Automatic processing
  • Candidate judgment
  • Impression formation
  • Spontaneous trait inferences
  • Voting


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