Document Detail

The role of background behavior in televised debates: does displaying nonverbal agreement and/or disagreement benefit either debater?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20575335     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
This study examined the effects of background nonverbal behavior displayed with the purpose of undermining one's opponent in televised debates. Students watched one of four versions of a televised debate. In each, while the speaking debater appeared on the main screen, subscreens displayed her nonspeaking opponent's background nonverbal behavior. In one version, the non-speaking debater remained "stone faced" during her opponent's speech, while in the other three she nonverbally displayed occasional disagreement, nearly constant disagreement, or both agreement and disagreement. After viewing the debates, students rated the debaters' credibility, appropriateness, objectivity, and debate skills, in addition to judging who won the debate. Analysis indicated that background nonverbal behavior influenced audience perceptions of debaters' credibility, appropriateness, objectivity, debate skill, and the extent to which the debate was won. These results suggest that adding nonverbal agreement to expressions of nonverbal disagreement do not reduce the negative impacts of communicating disagreement nonverbally during an opponent's speech and may in fact further decrease the audiences' perception of a debater's credibility and overall performance.
John S Seiter; Harry Weger; Andrea Jensen; Harold J Kinzer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of social psychology     Volume:  150     ISSN:  0022-4545     ISO Abbreviation:  J Soc Psychol     Publication Date:    2010 May-Jun
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-06-25     Completed Date:  2010-07-15     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376372     Medline TA:  J Soc Psychol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  278-300     Citation Subset:  IM    
Utah State University, Department of Languages, Philosophy, and Speech Communication, 0720 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Dissent and Disputes*
Nonverbal Communication*
Persuasive Communication*
Social Behavior*
Social Perception*
Sociometric Techniques
Young Adult

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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