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Political leadership, a quasi-experimental study of Peruvian voters’ emotional reaction and visual attention to political humor


Political humor is a wise communicative strategy for politicians to use. However, previous research has not linked politicians’ use of political humor with voter’s emotional reaction and visual attention. Two experiments were conducted using facial expression analysis and eye-tracking technology to record the emotional reaction and visual attention of participants while watching one of the two presidential debates broadcast during the second round of the 2016 presidential election campaign in Peru. Results showed that voters’ educational level, candidates’ facial expressions while expressing the political humor, the type of camera shot displayed and the debate’s audience laughs influence voter’s positive emotional reaction and visual attention to instances of political humor.

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    We did not analyze the influence of participants’ gender because there is no evidence of gender differences concerning reactions to political humor (Bippus, 2007). Moreover, we did not analyze voter’s political preference or partisanship because, first, Bippus (2007) found that voter’s partisanship did not affect the perceived effectiveness of the humor. Second, given the multi-party Peruvian electoral system, Peruvian voters’ partisanship is a volatile sociodemographic characteristic.

  2. 2.

    None of the coders were compensated for their time and they were not attached to the research project because of their minor contribution to the entire project.


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Correspondence to Luis Camilo Ortigueira-Sánchez.

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Ortigueira-Sánchez, L.C., Cárdenas-Egúsquiza, A.L. Political leadership, a quasi-experimental study of Peruvian voters’ emotional reaction and visual attention to political humor. Int Rev Public Nonprofit Mark (2021).

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  • Political humor
  • Eye-tracking
  • Voter emotions
  • Nonverbal behavior
  • Presidential campaign
  • Peru
  • Presidential candidates