To Persuade Someone, Look Emotional

David Pizarro and his colleagues argue that emotional expression functions as a signal to others that you’ve incorporated feelings into your moral decision. Without that signal, an audience might get the impression that you haven’t experienced any feeling at all—a possibility most people find pretty disturbing.Photograph by ArtFamily / Shutterstock

sked at the start of the final 1988 presidential debate whether he would support the death penalty if his wife were raped and murdered, Michael Dukakis, a lifelong opponent of capital punishment, quickly and coolly said no. It was a surprising, deeply personal, and arguably inappropriate question, but in demonstrating an unwavering commitment to Roger Simon about the scene at the debate immediately after Dukakis gave his response. “Even though the 90-minute debate was only seconds old, they felt it was already over for Dukakis.” Dukakis’ poll numbers plummeted, his campaign never recovered, and George H. W. Bush became the 41 President of the United States.

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