Your Political Affiliation Determines Who You Find Attractive, Study Shows

Ever had an argument with someone about how Joe Biden is clearly more attractive than Paul Ryan (which, for the record, is absolutely true), or vice versa? Well, even if you don't have a Leslie Knope–style massive crush on the Vice President, you're far from the only one to find yourself in that situation. A study from researchers at Cornell has found that, in a phenomenon coined "partisan lenses," people find politicians within their own political party more attractive than the opposing party. So kind of like beer goggles: the politics edition?The study, published in The Leadership Quarterly last week, had participants rate the attractiveness of various political leaders, of the immediately recognizable as well as unknown variety. The study showed that no political party contained more attractive members than the others, and there were no "looks" that immediately identified a politician as a Republican, Democrat, or any other affiliation for that matter. However, when participants were shown a clearly recognizable politician like Sarah Palin or Barack Obama, they showed a marked preference for members of their political party. When they were shown unfamiliar politicians from distant states, that preference vanished. The researchers concluded that the participants' political leanings were influencing them to find politicians they approved of more attractive. The lead author, Dr. Kevin Kniffin, discussed these results with Science Daily:

“There’s no ‘Republican look’ or ‘Democrat hairdo," Kniffin said. "If you don’t recognize political leaders and can’t view them through partisan lenses, they don’t have the halos or horns that influence perceptions of familiar leaders."

So basically, we're all totally prejudiced when it comes to politics. What else is new? As it turns out, not much. This is actually part of a well-documented occurrence you'll recognize if you've ever taken an intro to psychology class: in-group bias.Chances are, you've noticed by now that humans generally favor their own kind. People tend to view the world as "my group" versus "other groups," and they prefer those they consider fellow members of that in-group. Everyone else, as you can probably guess, is part of the out-group. This unconscious favoritism contributes to everything from racism to sexism to liking the Red Sox more than the Yankees. It even goes so far as to affect our preference in the way people smell; a study in the American Journal of Political Science last month showed that we prefer the body odor of people with similar political beliefs. Weird. Also, ew.


So while apparently it's still kinda taboo to put your political beliefs on an online dating profile (I guess you're supposed to wait till the second date to have that conversation), it might actually be helpful in the long run, if it can get you dates with people with the same political affiliation. At least you know you'll think they smell really good.


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