Texas Tech University

Politics, Populism and Performance: Understanding "Trump Style"

The London School of Economics and Political Science

November 9, 2018

The London School of Economics and Political Science - As the United States prepared for the 2018 midterms, which took place on 6 November 2018, campaigns for all levels and positions were throwing money, time, and publicity into the last days before ballots were cast.

Effectively assessing nonverbal behavior can be achieved through bio-behavioural coding, which employs detailed criteria for classifying communicative displays. For example, a display of anger often indicates a motivation of threat, whereas a display of happiness usually indicates a motivation of reassurance. To determine these expressions, Bucy's coders at Texas Tech University, where he is the Marshall and Sharleen Formby Regents Professor of Strategic Communication, consider a variety of indicators such as eye and head orientation, muscle movements around the mouth, and visibility of upper or lower teeth. Of course, the authenticity of display behaviour can influence intent as well. Bucy drew on bio-behavioural coding, continuous response measures (CRM), eye-tracking, and focus group responses to the 2012 debates between Romney and Obama as well as the 2016 debates between Clinton and Trump to illustrate how expressive displays evoke a range of "emotional and evaluative responses" in viewers, affecting shorter-term impressions and more enduring attitudes.

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