INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Chris Kowal is a consumer sciences professor at Purdue University who says that voters connect with the politicians based on the emotions demonstrated in facial expressions. His analysis finds Republican Mike Pence was the most expressive and therefore, Professor Kowal says, the winner of the first debate in the race for governor.
Professor Kowal ran video of entire debate through facial expression software and says that the emotions expressed by Mike Pence during the debate appeared to be genuine.
"I think that he probably made a great emotional connection," said Kowal. "He looked more like a leader because of the range of emotions he was expressing, the control that he had."
Professor Kowal says he had to recalibrate the software to analyze Libertarian Rupert Boneham because, "He has a natural look of surprise." And he also had problems with Democrat John Gregg, because of Gregg's mustache. "I know he loves it, right," said Kowal, "it's his brand much like the Pringle's guy."
But while it may help sell potato chips, the professor says, the mustache may get in the way on a debate stage.
"It is interfering with the emotional connection that voters can have with him," said Kowal, "because it's hiding a large portion of his emotional expressions."
Professor Kowal says Gregg's glasses got in the way, too, and that his emotions could be read only through his eyebrows and his forehead. Nevertheless, he says John Gregg had a look of satisfaction when he told Pence, "I know Mitch Daniels, and you're no Mitch Daniels." He says Pence displayed both anger and passion as he responded.
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