Coauthor cold-shouldered

I don’t normally just cut and paste from other bloggers’ posts. But sometimes you have to make an exception.

TV proves academics wrong, says Devine
Posted by Don Arthur on Sunday, December 10, 2006
Why bother with scholarly research when you have television? In a recent study, Amy King and Andrew Leigh found that physically attractive politicians tended to attract more votes than their less attractive colleagues. But Miranda Devine isn’t having a bar of it, “You only have to watch question time to know the idea that we choose our politicians based on beauty is laughable,” she says.

In a learned paper peppered with jargon and buttressed with three pages of references, Leigh rates 286 politicians on their attractiveness and compares it to their vote. At a time when ALP deputy leader Julia Gillard is being reduced to her haircut, this line of critique is hardly a positive step for female politicians, who are judged harshly enough on their looks without being conscripted into an academic’s beauty pageant.

Hardly a positive step for female politicians? What about female academics? In her concern for the plight of Julia Gillard, Devine somehow forgets to mention Leigh’s co-author Amy King.

King has a keen interest in women’s issues. She coordinated the Shattering Ceilings: Young Women & Leadership Forum which gathered together 100 young women from around South Australia. And she’ll probably survive being overlooked by Miranda Devine. King recently won a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University. …

At the end of her column, Miranda Devine goes on to question whether four raters is sufficient. As Amy and I show, the four sets of ratings are very highly correlated. In the beauty literature (yes, there is such a thing), this is known as the finding that “beauty is not in the eye of the beholder”. So most beauty studies only use a handful of raters. In our case, if one of our raters thought a political candidate was smokin’ hot, chances are the other three did too.

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1 Response to Coauthor cold-shouldered

  1. Verdurous says:


    If you and Amy have pissed off Miranda, you’re clearly onto something here.

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