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Good and Bad in the Hands of Politicians: Spontaneous Gestures during Positive and Negative Speech

Figure 1

Examples of gestures and results of the speech-gesture analysis.

A. Examples of one-handed gestures produced by the 2004 and 2008 US presidential candidates. Left panels: The left-handers, Obama (top) and McCain (bottom), gesturing with their left hands during speech with positive valence. Right panels: The right-handers, Kerry (top) and Bush (bottom), gesturing with their right hands during speech with positive valence. Due to copyright restrictions, the photos used here are for illustrative purposes only, and are not from the 2004 and 2008 US presidential debates that were analyzed in this study. B. Associations between speech and gesture in each presidential candidate. Proportions of right- and left-hand gestures during spoken clauses with positive (red) and negative (blue) emotional valence. In left-handers, left-hand gestures were more strongly associated with positive-valence speech than right-hand gestures, and right-hand gestures were more strongly associated with negative-valence clauses than left-hand gestures, but the opposite association between hand and valence was found in right-handers (Wald χ2=12.65, df=1, p=.0004). (Image sources: Official White House photography).

Figure 1

doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0011805.g001