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Baby-faced politicians 'likelier to win public's trust'.

London, Jan 31 ( ANI ): A politician like David Cameron with 'baby' features such as large eyes and pudgy lips stand a better chance of winning over the opposition, as people instantly judge them as being kind, honest and trustworthy, academics say.

People judge trustworthiness within 100 milliseconds of seeing someone's face and the effect is so profound that it even works on politicians who we think of as 'enemies,' they said.

The researchers say that the finding proves how important image is in modern-day politics - and could even be used to sway public opinion, either with Photoshop or with careful image selection, the Daily Mail reported.

"People generally associate a baby face with attributes of honesty, openness and acceptance, and once you trust your adversary, you have a greater willingness to reach a compromise," explained Professor Ifat Maoz of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Maoz and his colleagues tested his theory with a fictional news item containing a peace proposal and a fictional Palestinian leader's photograph.

The photograph was manipulated to appear as either baby-faced or mature by making a 15percent change in the size of eyes and lips. Respondents were then asked to evaluate the peace offer and rate the trustworthiness of the politician who offered it.

Although both images were based on the same original, the baby-faced politician was judged as more trustworthy and his peace proposal received greater support than the same offer from the mature-faced politician.

The researchers say that the findings could be used by press offices and media outlets to manipulate public support for resolving a conflict - or continuing it.

However, there are situations where a baby face is not an advantage.

"Although features of this type can lend politicians an aura of sincerity, openness and receptiveness, at the same time they can communicate a lack of assertiveness," said Maoz.

"Most people tend to prefer baby-faced politicians as long they represent the opposing side, while on their own side they prefer representatives who look like they know how to stand their ground," he added. ( ANI )

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Jan 31, 2012
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