"happy warriors" revisited Hedonic and agonic display repertoires of presidential candidates on the evening news

Erik P. Bucy, Maria Elizabeth Grabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-98
Number of pages21
JournalPolitics and the Life Sciences
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2008

Keywords

  • Biopolitics
  • Hedonic and agonic behavior
  • Network news coverage
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Televised leader displays

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of '"happy warriors" revisited Hedonic and agonic display repertoires of presidential candidates on the evening news'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this