Winning Faces: Model of Basic Primate Visual Processing Predicts Elections

September 27, 2012 - 17:30 - 19:00
Nador u. 9, Faculty Tower
Event type: 
Event audience: 
Darren Schreiber, Visiting Researcher and Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of California, San Diego
CEU organizer(s): 
Constantin Manuel Bosancianu
CEU contact person: 
Constantin Manuel Bosancianu
Email contact form

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%.