London: The choice of leaders often depends on the perception of conflict and conservatives typically prefer a more dominant looking leader than liberals, contends a study.
"Political ideology is suggestive of how we as individuals perceive conflict," emphasised researchers Lasse Laustsen and Michael Bang Petersen from the Aarhus University in Denmark.
As opposed to liberals, conservatives generally view the social world as more competitive, they tend to value group-based inequality more, and they perceive those outside the group as more threatening, the researchers noted.
The findings also suggest that preferences in appearance are also contingent on the context.
"We tend to prefer different features in our leaders depending on whether we are in a state of peace or war," the researchers explained.
"When we are threatened by another group, it is deeply rooted in us to search for a strong leader to take control of the situation. More or less subconsciously, we let ourselves be influenced by the physical appearance of our leaders and politicians," the study added.
On the other hand, neither context nor our perceptions of conflict have anything to say when we choose friends.
"Most people will choose non-dominant and cooperative people to be their friends," the researchers noted.
"It does not matter whether you are conservative or liberal, whether you find yourself in a state of war or peace, you will still choose non-dominant friends," they added.
The study appeared in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.