Determinants of Success

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Science  14 Sep 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6100, pp. 1274
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6100.1274-c

As the election races in the United States enter the home stretch, candidates have begun to appear regularly on television broadcasts. Viewer judgments of competence, based on seeing the faces of candidates, have been shown to predict election outcomes. Chen et al. have extended this approach to ask whether judgments of candidates' social competence—defined as the capacity for effective functioning in social interactions—are related to outcomes in an individualistic society (the United States) and a collectivist society (Taiwan). They replicate the earlier result that a judgment of competence does predict winners in the United States, as it does in Taiwan, and they find that judgments of social competence are also predictive, though only for elections in Taiwan. Correlating measures of individualism and collectivism from these study participants along with their own voting choices demonstrated that competence was weighted more heavily by more individualistic voters; similarly, social competence was linked to the choices that collectivist voters made.

J. Exp. Soc. Psychol. 48, 10.1016/j.jesp.2012.07.006 (2012).

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