Which Presidential Candidate Is More Emotionally Expressive?

Facial recognition technology finds that President Barack Obama showed a wider range of emotions and made a better emotional connection with the audience than his GOP opponent.

by / October 18, 2012
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President Barack Obama came out ahead in the second presidential debate at Hofstra University, CBS reported, and a researcher that was monitoring the candidates' facial expressions agreed. Chris Kowal, a professor from Purdue University, used facial recognition software to identify emotions on the faces of both candidates, which could be used to attract voters, WLFI reported. In this case, Obama displayed more confidence and a wider range of emotions throughout the debate than his GOP opponent, Kowal said.

"Those very basic emotions: happy, sad, disgust, surprise, afraid. Those are universal emotions. There are going to be muscle movements that are going to communicate those specific emotions and that's what this does," Kowal said. "The most important part of any type of branding, sales appeal, voter attraction, whatever you want to look at, is going to be that emotional connection.”

Obama expressed large amounts of sadness during the discussions of the recent Aurora, Colo., shootings, according to Kowal's facial analysis.

Mitt Romney also expressed strong emotions, particularly disgust and pride, but he showed a more limited range of emotions than he did in the first presidential debate. Kowal also studied the first presidential debate and found Romney to be the winner based on facial analysis.