The emotional appropriateness heuristic: Processing televised presidential reactions to the news

Erik P. Bucy, John E. Newhagen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study introduces the concept of the emotional appropriateness heuristic. An experiment investigated the effects of televised presidential reactions to compelling news events on memory, thought elaboration, and appropriateness evaluations made by subjects. Assessment of the news story-presidential reaction message sequences was conceptualized as an interactive cognitive process that uses the heuristic to categorize and evaluate the nonverbal behavior of the president. Negative and low intensity presidential reactions were expected and deemed appropriate. Positive or intense reactions tended to violate normative expectations and were classified as inappropriate. Findings also indicate that the emotional redundancy of images across valence-congruent message sequences improves memory. Results further suggest that the emotional appropriateness heuristic may help explain a process by which citizens can accurately assess the performance of leaders in a mass democracy, irrespective of political knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-79
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Communication
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The emotional appropriateness heuristic: Processing televised presidential reactions to the news'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this