Neuroelectrical correlates of trustworthiness and dominance judgments related to the observation of political candidates

Giovanni Vecchiato, Jlenia Toppi, Anton Giulio Maglione, Elzbieta Olejarczyk, Laura Astolfi, Donatella Mattia, Alfredo Colosimo, Fabio Babiloni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present research investigates the neurophysiological activity elicited by fast observations of faces of real candidates during simulated political elections. We used simultaneous recording of electroencephalographic (EEG) signals as well as galvanic skin response (GSR) and heart rate (HR) as measurements of central and autonomic nervous systems. Twenty healthy subjects were asked to give judgments on dominance, trustworthiness, and a preference of vote related to the politicians' faces. We used high-resolution EEG techniques to map statistical differences of power spectral density (PSD) cortical activity onto a realistic head model as well as partial directed coherence (PDC) and graph theory metrics to estimate the functional connectivity networks and investigate the role of cortical regions of interest (ROIs). Behavioral results revealed that judgment of dominance trait is the most predictive of the outcome of the simulated elections. Statistical comparisons related to PSD and PDC values highlighted an asymmetry in the activation of frontal cortical areas associated with the valence of the judged trait as well as to the probability to cast the vote. Overall, our results highlight the existence of cortical EEG features which are correlated with the prediction of vote and with the judgment of trustworthy and dominant faces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number434296
JournalComputational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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