Deception Detection In Non Verbals, Linguistics And Data.

Learning From Politicians: Applause Cues For Speakers

Applause generation cues are crafted within in a political talk  because audiences need to know not only if they are going to applaud but when they are going to applaud.

In particular, two of these rhetorical techniques (Atkinson 1983), the 3 item list ( rule of three) and the contrast principle,  are very useful for speakers, newspaper editors, advertising and any situation designed to persuade.

The Rule Of Three, or trios and triplets are everywhere in western culture. We have an inherent attraction to the number three, it allows us to express a concept, to emphasise it to make it memorable.

When a 3 item list is included in a speech, we recognise it as such and can anticipate the completion of that point, so it becomes a natural applause cue.

So for example, Tony Blair was applauded for his famous 3 item list, "Ask me my main priorities for Government, and I tell you: education, education and education."

On during the election night, opposition leader Bill Shorten said, "The Labor party is re-energised, it is unified and it is more determined than ever.

Obama said," Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered."

The second important rhetorical technique is the Contrast Principle which fundamental in the way our brain makes decisions.

Advertising is in essence contrast -- you show that you are the only red apple amongst green apples.
Things such as before and after diet pictures, before and after hair loss programs and so on, have been used in advertising for decades.

Contrast highlights and exaggerates what precedes it, so for example in retail you will always be sold a suit first, then a jumper or shirt because it appears more trivial in price. A real estate agent will show you an older run down property first, then show you something closer to your brief, and it appears even more suitable because of the contrast that preceded it..

In speech, an example is John Major saying, "We are in Europe to help shape it, not to be shaped by it." To be effective in speech, the second part of the contrast needs to be very similar to the first part.

Atkinson research in 1984 showed that the 3 item list and the contrasts techniques were used by virtually all "charismatic speakers", and that the media often selected such passages as part of their print.

Research by John Heritage and David Greatbatch backs up Atkinson's findings and shows that in a political context, nearly half of all the applause generated in speeches was from these two rhetorical techniques alone.

A good reason for all speakers to be aware and use the Rule Of Three and the Contrast Principle.


  1. Very informative and useful post. You have nice command on the post and have explained in a very great way. Thanks for helping .Good work,hope your blog be better!I just want to make a blog like this! politics 2020


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