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HPU students study nonverbal communication in conjunction with presidential election

Jaclyn BonnerBROWNWOOD – November 3, 2016 – With early voting underway and less than a week until Election Day, Howard Payne University students in Dr. Julie Welker’s Nonverbal Communication course are studying how candidates’ appearance, body language, expressions and other nonverbal cues may impact election results.

“Since the first televised presidential debate in 1960, nonverbal communication has played a major role in how voters consider candidates,” said Dr. Welker, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication. “Without realizing it, audiences are persuaded by such nonverbal cues as the candidates’ dress, posture and even blinking patterns.”

Jaclyn Bonner, senior communication major from Lytle, gave a presentation in class Wednesday afternoon during which students analyzed the expressions of candidates during debates. She discussed how nonverbal cues can negatively or positively influence a candidate’s odds of winning an election. Bonner also encouraged others in class to be aware of their expressions and body language when engaged in public speaking.


Cutline: Jaclyn Bonner, HPU senior communication major from Lytle, recently delivered a presentation on “Nonverbal Communication in Presidential Debates.”