Title

Audience Perceptions of Candidates’ Appropriateness as a Function of Nonverbal Behaviors Displayed During Televised Political Debates

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

The Journal of Social Psychology

Volume

145

Issue

2

Publisher

Taylor&Francis Online

Publication Date

2005

First Page

225

Last Page

235

DOI

10.3200/SOCP.145.2.225-236

Abstract

Compared to televised debates using a single-screen format, such debates using a split screen presenting both debaters simultaneously show viewers the nonverbal reactions of each debater's opponent. The authors examined how appropriate or inappropriate such nonverbal behaviors are perceived to be. Students watched one of four versions of a televised debate. One version used a single-screen format, showing only the speaker, whereas the other three versions used a split-screen format in which the speaker's opponent displayed constant, occasional, or no nonverbal disagreement with the speaker. Students then rated the debaters' appropriateness. Analysis indicated that the opponent was perceived to be less appropriate when he displayed any background disagreement compared to when he did not. The students perceived the speaker as most appropriate when his opponent displayed constant nonverbal disagreement.

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