Texas Tech researcher says that will give an insight into the personality of the candidates
While both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will be all smiles at tomorrow night’s first Presidential debate, a Texas Tech University researcher says the type of smiles you see and the times when you see them could tell you a lot about their character, 1200 WOAI's Berit Mason reports.
"We are definitely going to see some 'happiness reassurance' displays, but the thing to look for is not just the frequency, but the authenticity with which they do it," Texas Tech Professor Eric Bucy told Berit.
Bucy says since both contenders have been well coached on great answers, great 'zingers' and great body language, the smiles could be the best way voters can get a true picture of the man.
"Debate rehearsals are set up on scale to the way the actual debates are going to occur, and one of the reasons for that is control of gestures and expressions," he said.
He says what he calls 'happiness reassurance displays' are the best way to see if a candidate is relaxed, confident, and feels up to the task of president.
"Challengers, or candidates who are trailing in the polls, are frequently empted to go on the attack to rattle their opponent, but this approach can often backfire," he says. "Challengers, or leaders of are rapidly losing ground, give away their secondary status by staying on the offensive, front-runners are more confident and reassuring."
He says look for 'reaction shots' during the debate, George H.W. Bush lost a lot of ground when he famously looked at his watch during a 1992 debate against Bill Clinton and Ross Perot, projecting the image that he was uncomfortable and wanted the event to be over.
Bucy says media coverage of what the candidates say will frequently minimize the role of visual performance in the debate. Richard Nixon famously won his debate in 1960 against John Kennedy among people who listened on the radio, and who were impressed by what the Republican said, but he lost big time among the larger number of people who watched the debate on television, and saw Nixon looking sweaty and uncomfortable.