Languages Across Cultures
Several scholars have weighed in recently on language in the political debates, including CNN's science of deception, and Jeff Hancock on Trump's language. For the third debate, we found many of the same trends as in the first two debates, indicating that the candidates are consistent in their rhetorical approaches, as well as some new features. For instance, Trump used more references to "other" in the third debate than did Clinton. This is compatible with his rhetoric, as his campaign has identified many sources of "other" like Syrian and Mexican immigrants.
The next two graphs complement each other: Clinton uses more positive emotion, and Trump uses more negative emotion. Some research has shown that positive language is contagious: leaders who use more positive and optimistic language "infect" the population and cause citizens to improve their evaluation of the leader. Positivity breeds positivity, which increases leaders' approval ratings.
The next two graphs show the syntactic and semantic patterns of the candidates' language. Both indicate that Clinton again is taking the central route to persuasion, which requires more cognitive processing and is conceptually complex. Trump also continues to pursue the peripheral route to persuasion, which appeals more to emotions. In short: Clinton is appealing to voters heads, and Trump is appealing to their hearts.
Finally, as in previous debates, Clinton used more presidential language than did Trump.
Languages Across Cultures at the
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