Body Language: Big Face Little Face

When Abraham Lincoln was voted President, the nation had not watched one political analysis after another on television in the months leading up to the election, like the voters of today have the opportunity to do.

 Many people would argue that it is the arrogant attitude of a political correspondent that frustrates and annoys them the most, when they are watching someone who supports the opposing political party. And, while this may well be part of the annoyance, new research is showing something else can play a very BIG part.

 Dianna Mutz, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania reveals that, at least in politics, size does matter. When close-ups are shown, giving us a bigger version of the persons head and/or face, it invades (or at least that is how we perceive it) our personal space.

 In short, if you are watching someone you are already likely to disagree with, and then, the camera zooms in for a close-up, making that persons head and face much larger, you’ll probably find what they have to say as being much less credible.

That’s exactly what happened when actors took part in a fake debate, with the cameras filming at a middle distance and close-up range. People who watched the debate found the close-up opinions to be less valid and were far more likely to find a grain of truth in those who were filmed from the middle distance.

 How can you use this? If you know you are going to be producing something that will be viewed, for the most part, by people who may not agree with your message, then you would do well to stay away from the close-up shots, and give them a little breathing room by filming from further away.

 © Copyright 2010-Vincent Harris-All Rights Reserved.

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