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1 March 2008 “Happy warriors” revisitedHedonic and agonic display repertoires of presidential candidates on the evening news
Erik P. Bucy, Maria Elizabeth Grabe
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Abstract

Absent from most analyses of political news are detailed assessments of the candidates' nonverbal behavior, which has been shown experimentally to have considerable persuasive influence. Unlike attractiveness and other relatively stable aspects of appearance, facial displays are highly variable and reveal important moment-to-moment information about the emitter's internal state. In this paper we argue that facial displays are influential elements within political news and examine the character of televised candidate displays over four presidential election cycles. The analysis considers coverage of major party nominees shown during the general elections of 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 on the major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC). To motivate our hypotheses, we draw on the biopolitics literature that has identified three classes of displays relevant to the study of nonverbal political behavior: happiness/reassurance, anger/threat, and fear/evasion. The analysis focuses on the relationship between the display types shown in election coverage, the context in which the displays are shown, and candidate standings in the polls.

Erik P. Bucy and Maria Elizabeth Grabe "“Happy warriors” revisitedHedonic and agonic display repertoires of presidential candidates on the evening news," Politics and the Life Sciences 27(1), 78-98, (1 March 2008). https://doi.org/10.2990/27_1_78
Published: 1 March 2008
JOURNAL ARTICLE
21 PAGES


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KEYWORDS
Biopolitics
hedonic and agonic behavior
network news coverage
Nonverbal communication
televised leader displays
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