4 years ago

Moving speeches: Dominance, trustworthiness and competence in body motion

People read dominance, trustworthiness and competence into the faces of politicians but do they also perceive such social qualities in other nonverbal cues? We transferred the body movements of politicians giving a speech onto animated stick-figures and presented these stimuli to participants in a rating-experiment. Analyses revealed single body postures of maximal expansiveness as strong predictors of perceived dominance. Also, stick-figures producing expansive movements as well as a great number of movements throughout the encoded sequences were judged high on dominance and low on trustworthiness. In a second step we divided our sample into speakers from the opposition parties and speakers that were part of the government as well as into male and female speakers. Male speakers from the opposition were rated higher on dominance but lower on trustworthiness than speakers from all other groups. In conclusion, people use simple cues to make equally simple social categorizations. Moreover, the party status of male politicians seems to become visible in their body motion.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0191886916300137

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