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Markus Koppensteiner studies body movements of politicians, and how these affect people's judgements of politicians making a speech. For this, he turns body movements of German members of Parliament into stick-figure animations - a time consuming piece of coding, but with beautiful results.
"Politicians are not only judged by their abilities to present the contents of a speech, but also by their facial expressions, their looks and their movements. Such nonverbal cues convey interpersonal and affective information and often have a dominant influence on people’s judgements.
For previous studies body movements of speakers were turned into stick-figure animations in order to test how body motion alone affects people’s impressions. In a next step it is planned to apply motion tracking algorithms that are freely available to automate the process of behavior encoding and to make motion analyses applicable to a wider range of research questions (e.g., do people adapt their nonverbal style when discussing different topics). In addition, the results of motion analyses may also help to deepen our understanding of the general role of nonverbal cues in human perception and human communication."
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