Thursday, April 7, 2016

What Speech Patterns Say About the Presidential Candidates

Debate discourse provides glimpse of hopefuls’ outlook and demeanor; analytical vs. anecdotal
Since August, the presidential candidates have uttered more than 300,000 words in 20 televised debates. And as their statements have spilled out, language experts have pulled them apart, categorized the words and counted them up.
The goal is to gain insight into the candidates’ personalities by quantifying their verbal tics. In other words, these experts have taken reading between the lines to a new level.
“What we work on is of interest to people in marketing, politics, police and intelligence—any place where persuasion is of interest,” said James W. Pennebaker, a social psychologist at the University of Texas and a pioneer in the field of computerized textual analysis. “It gives you a sense of what people are interested in and what they are attending to, for whatever reason.”
Mr. Pennebaker’s findings reveal that one presidential candidate leads the others in optimism. Two speak with such authority that doubt doesn’t appear to exist in their minds. And another uses words that simultaneously signal insecurity and clout.
The most optimistic candidate? That’s Hillary Clinton. The most self-certain among the contenders? Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders. And the seemingly contradictory ball of confidence and insecurity? Donald Trump.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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