Winning Faces: Model of Basic Primate Visual Processing Predicts Elections
Todorov (2005) demonstrated that people could make competence judgments about faces with only 100 millisecond exposures that were predictive of electoral victories. Others have since shown that Swiss children can predict the outcome of French elections when they pick which face they would want to be the 'captain of the boat' in an adventure game. And, Indians and Americans can pick the winners of Mexican and Brazilian political contests just by looking at their faces. The automaticity, early development, and universality of this ability suggests it is likely instantiated in a basic cognitive process. We trained a computer model of the V1 region of the primate visual cortex that has performed very well in object recognition tasks to identify winning candidates with an accuracy of 70-80%.