How we react to faces could be linked to our political affiliations. Psychologist Jacob M. Vigil of the University of North Florida had 740 college students look at 12 photographs of faces digitally blurred to not display any clear emotion. The volunteers were then asked if these faces expressed sadness, joy, disgust, surprise, fear or anger. The students who identified themselves as Republicans were more likely than those who identified themselves as Democrats to interpret these vague faces as more threatening, as measured by anger or disgust, and less submissive, as conveyed by fear or surprise. These findings, which appeared online October 21 in Nature Precedings, are consistent with research linking conservative political views on military spending and capital punishment with heightened reactions to disturbing images and sounds. Vigil conjectures that the political ideologies we advocate couldbe linked with the way that we respond to ambiguous details.
This article was originally published with the title "Politics of Blank Looks"