Does Authorship Markup Increase Clicks?

Google allows the linking of a +1 account with web content, which means that basic author information including a picture shows up in search results. The real question for webmasters, though, is whether or not this actually ends up helping the click-through rate on your content. In theory, having a picture should increase click-through rate as it seemingly makes the content more appealing. Take for instance this article of mine related to iGod, which includes authorship markup:

authorship markup
The idea here is that by having a picture of the author, it is more likely to be quality content and as a result worth clicking on. However, in actuality the end result can vary greatly depending on the type of article. The following is an example of search engine click-through rate just before authorship markup was added, and just after:

authorship markup graph
As you can see there is a fairly large decline immediately after authorship markup kicked in. I believe there are two possible reasons for this. The first is that a page without authorship markup seems like it is part of a large organization, but adding a single author makes the content seem as though it is just one person writing it. This is actually true anyway, but the perception seems to hurt. The second is that Google has become so bloated with pictures from Google map, recipes and YouTube that people deliberately skip over that sort of content in favour of pure text content. I cannot think of a way to further test this hypothesis, but it is an interesting idea none-the-less.

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