Deception in Speeches of Candidates for Public Office

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The contribution of this article is twofold: the adaptation and application of models of deception from psychology, combined with data-mining techniques, to the text of speeches given by candidates in the 2008 U.S. presidential election; and the observation of both short-term and medium-term differences in the levels of deception. The method of analysis is fully automated and requires no human coding, and so can be applied to many other domains in a straightforward way. The authors posit explanations for the observed variation in terms of a dynamic tension between the goals of campaigns at each moment in time, for example gaps between their view of the candidate’s persona and the persona expected for the position; and the difficulties of crafting and sustaining a persona, for example, the cognitive cost and the need for apparent continuity with past actions and perceptions. The changes in the resulting balance provide a new channel by which to understand the drivers of political campaigning, a channel that is hard to manipulate because its markers are created subconsciously.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Science Research Network
Publication statusPublished - 05 Jan 2012


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