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.
|Number of pages||21|
|Journal||Journal of Communication|
|State||Published - 1999|