Emotions and political credibility in communication

The COO of Emotion Research Lab Alicia Mora has come as rapporteur at the Fourth International Meeting of Political Communication that is taking place in Bilbao. Under the slogan “New Communication: How new policy?” come to this event specialists of the stature of Roy Campos  or Stephen Coleman to mention just two of them.

The paper presented at the auditorium of the Torre Iberdrola  “the management of political credibility through communication” has shelled the importance of emotions in the electoral campaigns to connect emotionally with the electorate.


Emotions and Vote Decision

Do we vote with the reason or with the heart? In spite of what it may seem, we are not so rationals when choosing a policy option or another. We tend to be visceral, motivated by the belief that we have built up throughout our life.

Traditionally, the government parties have drawn its strategy based mainly to fear. In the case of the last electoral campaign, the PP chose to shake the fear of citizenship based on three pillars:


  1. Danger for the unity of Spain and to the economy of a populist government of UP
  2. Fear that the country suffered its own Brexit consequence of the above with the consequent loss of status quo
  3. The much mentioned common sense and general interest of useful vote that mobilized to their electorate of always


By against, the coalition Unidos Podemos, It  was moving its strategy of the anger that so good result gave Podemos in the December elections, toward a message more sweetened. This turn happened invoice at the polls for three main reasons:


  1. The allusion to the radical change transmits insecurity. The electorate of a new party is not so faithful
  2. Despite presented as the new Social Democrat, does not end up to scratch enough votes to the PSOE
  3.  The sweeten their message in campaign has made them lose the votes of the most radical


The surveys do not predict well, emotions if.

The opinion polls have failed miserably bearing in mind the election results. The PP has been strengthened and Unidos Podemos  has not given the chime with the expected sorpasso the PSOE. All predictions have failed because the surveys issued predictions and there are also cognitive biases that distort our perception.

Taking as a basis the spots of campaign of the 4 main political parties at the national level, the research department of Emotion Research Lab prepared a study of its own. Thanks to the technique of facial coding, have captured the facial microexpresiones of individuals, while watched the spots. They have been measured rates of emotional response subconscious based on each of the 6 basic emotions and universal: happiness, surprise, anger, displeasure, fear and sadness.

The main conclusions are:


  • The spot of United Podemos produce more activation and satisfaction that the rest.
  • The spot of the CP generates more commitment that the other three


emociones y credibilidad política

Emotions and political credibility in the communication

Analyzing the brain, it operates on the basis of whether to accept or not:


– If we tend toward the yes – brain reward system

– If we tend toward the non – system of Loss


When taking a decision, it activates one or the other.

The communication policy must be understood as the construction of a brand and its marketing actions associated with it. When considering a candidate as a brand must represent a guarantee, a relationship of trust and a promise to consumers. For this you should build a political message that set an emotional bond with the voters.

The neuropolitical combines the techniques of facial coding and eye tracking that allow us to measure the facial microexpresiones of a person. We know so what emotions is felt in every moment of a subconscious way. And where is paying greater attention. An example of this is found in our emotional political barometer.

On the basis of the data obtained through this technology of facial recognition of emotions, set up a study that combines the programmatic lines of the party with the correction of the negative aspects detected. Emotional triggers are proposed to vote on the basis of the strategy of our campaign. In this way, the emotional component becomes a measurable aspect and operable from a new environment where technology and the policy strategy are aligned.