Perceived Leadership Ability in Female Faces: The Role of Facial Dominance, Context and Leadership Styles.
(2017) Perceived Leadership Ability in Female Faces: The Role of Facial Dominance, Context and Leadership Styles., no. 53.
Previous research has shown that people prefer male leaders who show congruency between facial cues and leadership style relating to dominance, by looking and behaving either congruently dominant or congruently non-dominant. The aim of this study was to investigate whether congruency impacts perceptions of female leadership ability, and whether altering the context of the leadership between wartime or peacetime influences preferences for congruency or dominance cues in female faces. The influence of individual differences on these preferences was also investigated. An online experiment was conducted, where participants rated congruent and incongruent combinations of a female face next to a political quotation for leadership ability in either wartime or peacetime, or in a neutral condition with no contextual manipulation. Participants were also asked about their political orientation and their social dominance orientation. Results showed that contradictory to the previous congruency study using male faces, congruency was not generally preferred for female candidates. However, there were preferential gender differences, with women preferring congruent faces to a higher degree than men did. Political orientation was also linked to a preference for congruency, especially among men. The findings suggest that congruency relating to female faces might differ from perceptions of congruency relating to male faces, and that a female candidate's leadership style mattered more than facial cues or congruency. Keywords: congruency, leadership perception, trait judgements, female faces