Dirty looks: politicians’ facial appearance and unethical behaviour

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Dirty looks : politicians’ facial appearance and unethical behaviour. / Rockey, James; Smith, Harriet M.J.; Flowe, Heather.

In: The Leadership Quarterly, 20.09.2021.

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@article{6cf0ebb0fdef408098089b9100dd06e3,
title = "Dirty looks: politicians{\textquoteright} facial appearance and unethical behaviour",
abstract = "Over half of British Members of Parliament (MPs) were found to have overclaimed on their expenses in the 2009 expenses scandal. We conduct an exploratory analysis of whether the facial appearance of the MPs (N=636) is associated with overclaiming, as research has found that facial appearance is correlated with behavioural outcomes. Participants (N=4,727) previously unfamiliar with the MPs made trait ratings (physically attractive, charismatic, criminal, competent, financially greedy, honest, likeable, organized, physically dominant, and sincere) of each politician{\textquoteright}s face. The latent factor structure indicated the traits could be grouped into the three broad factors identified in previous work: criminality (the traits criminal, financially greedy, and physically dominant), attractiveness (the traits physically attractive, charismatic, honest, likeable, and sincere), and competence (competent and organized). We found more attractive MPs tended to overclaim less, as did more criminal-looking MPs. But more competent-appearing politicians tended to overclaim more. We relate these findings to theories of moral licensing and moral consistency and discuss the limitations and context-specific nature of our findings. ",
keywords = "Facial appearance and leadership, Unethical behaviour, Beauty, Politician's appearance, UK expenses scandal",
author = "James Rockey and Smith, {Harriet M.J.} and Heather Flowe",
year = "2021",
month = sep,
day = "20",
doi = "10.1016/j.leaqua.2021.101561",
language = "English",
journal = "The Leadership Quarterly",
issn = "1048-9843",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Dirty looks

T2 - politicians’ facial appearance and unethical behaviour

AU - Rockey, James

AU - Smith, Harriet M.J.

AU - Flowe, Heather

PY - 2021/9/20

Y1 - 2021/9/20

N2 - Over half of British Members of Parliament (MPs) were found to have overclaimed on their expenses in the 2009 expenses scandal. We conduct an exploratory analysis of whether the facial appearance of the MPs (N=636) is associated with overclaiming, as research has found that facial appearance is correlated with behavioural outcomes. Participants (N=4,727) previously unfamiliar with the MPs made trait ratings (physically attractive, charismatic, criminal, competent, financially greedy, honest, likeable, organized, physically dominant, and sincere) of each politician’s face. The latent factor structure indicated the traits could be grouped into the three broad factors identified in previous work: criminality (the traits criminal, financially greedy, and physically dominant), attractiveness (the traits physically attractive, charismatic, honest, likeable, and sincere), and competence (competent and organized). We found more attractive MPs tended to overclaim less, as did more criminal-looking MPs. But more competent-appearing politicians tended to overclaim more. We relate these findings to theories of moral licensing and moral consistency and discuss the limitations and context-specific nature of our findings.

AB - Over half of British Members of Parliament (MPs) were found to have overclaimed on their expenses in the 2009 expenses scandal. We conduct an exploratory analysis of whether the facial appearance of the MPs (N=636) is associated with overclaiming, as research has found that facial appearance is correlated with behavioural outcomes. Participants (N=4,727) previously unfamiliar with the MPs made trait ratings (physically attractive, charismatic, criminal, competent, financially greedy, honest, likeable, organized, physically dominant, and sincere) of each politician’s face. The latent factor structure indicated the traits could be grouped into the three broad factors identified in previous work: criminality (the traits criminal, financially greedy, and physically dominant), attractiveness (the traits physically attractive, charismatic, honest, likeable, and sincere), and competence (competent and organized). We found more attractive MPs tended to overclaim less, as did more criminal-looking MPs. But more competent-appearing politicians tended to overclaim more. We relate these findings to theories of moral licensing and moral consistency and discuss the limitations and context-specific nature of our findings.

KW - Facial appearance and leadership

KW - Unethical behaviour

KW - Beauty

KW - Politician's appearance

KW - UK expenses scandal

U2 - 10.1016/j.leaqua.2021.101561

DO - 10.1016/j.leaqua.2021.101561

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85115136501

JO - The Leadership Quarterly

JF - The Leadership Quarterly

SN - 1048-9843

M1 - 101561

ER -