Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump might be two starkly different presidential candidates, but, according to a new personality study, both should follow the same debate strategy: show some heart.
Fidelum Partners surveyed 1,012 adults, asking them to rate Clinton, Trump, and other famous people on qualities related to warmth and competence. Those traits have been shown by Princeton University social psychologist Susan Fiske and others to underlie many of our preferences.
Both candidates scored pretty low on average, with the biggest opportunity for improving warmth.
Study author Chris Malone shared some analysis with an eye toward the presidential debates:
Both Clinton and Trump behave in ways that suggest they value competence over warmth. However, neither seems to fully appreciate that most people are not like them. In fact, warmth perceptions are the dominant driver of human loyalty and support.
As a result, it’s not just what they say and do that matters, but also how they say and do it. So for instance, facial expressions, tone of voice and body language will convey more information and emotion than the words Clinton or Trump say. In particular, showing emotions of anger, disgust, impatience or frustration will be off-putting for most viewers (even if directed at their opponent).
When asked about controversial actions or statements made in the past, each should focus on explaining their intentions at the time, not what they did or didn’t do. Their intentions are far more important than the past words or actions themselves.
Both should admit to being human and making mistakes at times. We all know that each is fallible, so there’s no point in denying it or arguing otherwise. In fact, periodic lapses of competence are quite forgivable and humanising when admitted, while covering up or denying mistakes conveys coldness and ill intentions toward others.
Specifically, Trump should explain why he knowingly makes such outrageous, inconsistent and controversial statements at times. Does he literally intend what he says or is he trying to shake up certain segments of people for a different reason?
Clinton should explain why she has been so reluctant to admit her mistakes. Is she a perfectionist that can’t forgive herself when things go wrong or is she simply trying to avoid criticism from her opponents?
Just how unpopular are the presidential candidates? Depends who you ask.
Here’s how America as a whole rates them in comparison to other famous people:
Here’s how Clinton fans rate them:
Here’s how Trump fans rate them:
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