Monday, November 28, 2016

Trump's political success was a triumph of style over substance

Public Release: 8-Nov-2016
Trump's political success was a triumph of style over substance: UBC research
University of British Columbia

Style, not substance, accounts for Donald Trump's U.S. Republican presidential nomination, according to a psychological analysis from the University of British Columbia.

Psychology researchers at the university compared Trump's speech style and Twitter usage to that of the other top nine Republican contenders. The real-estate mogul and reality star consistently ranked highest in ratings of grandiosity, "I"-statements, informal language, vocal pitch variation, and use of Twitter.

"Trump's outrageous statements over the course of the campaign led many political pundits to underestimate his chances of success," said supervising author Delroy L. Paulhus, a personality psychology researcher and professor at UBC. "Contrary to what might be expected, grandiosity, simplistic language and rampant Twitter activity were statistical predictors of success in the Republican primaries. Although Trump's bombastic communication style was shocking -- even detestable to many viewers -- our research suggests that this style helped him win the Republican nomination."


"Even in everyday life, the difficulty of fact-checking everything people tell us forces us to rely on how they say it -- and we've shown that this holds true even in political elections," said Paulhus. "This phenomenon not only helps explain Donald Trump's political rise, but how questionable political leaders might gain power--even in democracies."

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