Audience Perceptions of Candidates’ Appropriateness as a Function of Nonverbal Behaviors Displayed During Televised Political Debates
The Journal of Social Psychology
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.
Seiter, J. S., & Weger, H., Jr. (2005). Audience Perceptions of Candidates’ Appropriateness as a Function of Nonverbal Behaviors Displayed During Televised Political Debates. Journal of Social Psychology, 145 (2), 225-235.