Deception Detection In Non Verbals And Linguistics

Election Word Watching - Who's Most Deceptive?

I downloaded 28 speeches from Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten (14 each) for the month of June. This includes scripted and unscripted Q+A sessions. I ran all the speeches through the text analysis software, which used 4500  words in 80 categories to to analyse what was said and to get deeper into the state of mind and intent of the leaders.

The most frequent words used by both leaders shown here as a word cloud. The larger the word, the more often it was used.


Above: Bill Shorten word cloud.

                                                  Above: Malcolm Turnbull word cloud

While both leaders mention the other side, Shorten stands out with how often he uses the word "Turnbull", it's nearly as large as Labor.

Next we look at Equivocation or Hedge words (I believe, think, might, should could etc) which reduces commitment and can "indicate a less positive experience or an unwillingness to communicate information". (Wiener and Mehrabian 1968)

I'll also look at Negations, words like no, not and all contractions of not. Equivocation and Negation were pinpointed by Susan Adams of the FBI as the most indicative indicators of deception in her paper Indicators Of Veracity And Deception: An Analysis Of Written Statements Made To Police - 2006.




The results are highly significant at below the 1% level. Bill Shorten uses far more Equivocation and Negation compared to Malcolm Turnbull. This is a red flag in deception, but it is also high in losing political parties in the 100 year election speech analysis I did. Winners of elections used less, losers used more of these words.





Tracking what drives the election leaders, we break down affiliation, achievement and power indicators in speech. People high in affiliation are concerned with relationships and close allies. Both leaders are similar in affliation and also achievement orientation.

The power indicator -- how driven is the individual to control, status and prestige. David Winter argued in his analysis of U.S presidents that the degree of power was an indicator of political effectiveness, but I have found it to be a negative indicator in Australian elections - the public don't seem to vote for power language used in elections.

Looking at words relating to anger, Turnbull scores higher (more angry). This is a negative indicator and is also a negative indicator in the German election prediction using twitter to determine public sentiment that I mentioned in a previous post.

Both leaders are very similar on indicators of Analytical thinking, both are similar in Risk and Reward indicators, and both are similar in Authenticity.

Shorten uses far more "I" pronouns which tends to be "more personal, but more insecure." (LIWC analysis by psychologist James Pennebaker).





Both leaders are similar in focus on the future and the past events, but Bill Shorten is far more likely to focus on the present. There doesn't appear to be that much of a difference on the graph, but it is highly significant on the statistical analysis.

Pennebaker says, "People oriented towards the present are thinking about current events that are psychologically close. Present-focused people tend to be more neurotic, depressed, and pessimistic than either past- of future-oriented people. "

In total Malcolm Turnbull only has 3 categories of words out of 80 that are more statistically excessive than Bill Shorten, whereas Shorten has 12 categories.

Shorten has a problem with language compared to Malcolm Turnbull (this only relates when compared to each other) - he is perceived as more negative and is flagged as more deceptive.

In closing, the sincerity problem Shorten has is really shown in these pictures (gifs) below.
He is delivering a speech where he says, "I believe..." then looks down at his notes to remind himself what he believes in. This really is indicative of poor preparation or going into "auto pilot" during a speech.

But just when you think he was tired or having a bad day, he does it again during a second important speech about his asylum seeker/refugee policy!







This looks to all the world that Bill Shorten doesn't know what he believes.

Wrapping this up with the latest Befair prices on the election, Labor is diving further, with Liberal at $1.13, almost 89% chance of winning with less than a week to go.


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