AI Can Tell Your Political Affiliation Just by Looking at Your Face, Researchers Find

Key Points:

  • Facial recognition combined with AI can accurately assess political orientation.
  • Differences in facial morphology exist between liberals and conservatives.
  • There is a potential threat posed by biometric surveillance technologies in relation to political messaging online.


A recent study published in the peer-reviewed American Psychologist journal by researchers at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University suggests that a combination of facial recognition and artificial intelligence technology can accurately determine a person’s political orientation by analyzing their neutral facial expressions. The study involved 591 participants who completed a political questionnaire, and an AI algorithm was used to predict their political beliefs based on facial features. The algorithm demonstrated a high level of accuracy in determining participants’ political orientation, even when factors such as age, gender, and ethnicity were not considered.


Prior to the experiment, researchers observed distinct facial characteristics among the most liberal and conservative individuals, such as liberals having smaller lower faces and downward-shifted lips and noses. This finding led to the hypothesis that facial morphology may be linked to political orientation. The study claimed that individuals with smaller faces tended to align with more liberal ideologies, while those with larger faces were associated with conservative beliefs. Researchers highlighted the influence of societal expectations on physical appearances in shaping personality traits and behaviors.


By analyzing these facial characteristics and their perceived political associations, researchers were able to develop a database for training their facial recognition algorithm. The algorithm successfully predicted political orientations based on facial images, suggesting a connection between inherent facial features and political leanings. The study warned about the implications of biometric surveillance technologies, particularly in targeting political messaging online, emphasizing the potential threats posed by AI’s ability to infer an individual’s political orientation.



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