Market Research Consortium Gauge Voter Neuro-Reactions to Presidential Debates

NeuroPolitical study focuses on non-conscious voter response, predictions, and undecided voters

As President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden faced off on stage for the first time this past Tuesday, a consortium of market research companies used neuroscience measurement to gauge voter response to the September 29th Presidential Debate. Applied neuroscience, also known as neuromarketing, allows marketers to identify non-conscious response to communications. Biometric practitioners and neuropolitical experts suggest neuro-measures can tap into reactions that voters are often unwilling or unable to express.

Neuroscience Analysis of Debate Activities

“It was all a mess,” “the interactions were distracting,” “it was out of control,” “utter disrespect,” “it was funny and completely pointless” — those were some of the words groups of Trump, Biden, and Undecided voters used to describe the debate Tuesday night. But how they felt non-consciously and their gut-level reactions in the moment to events during the debate reveal a more complicated story. These voters were neuro-physiologically measured via biometric sensors for psychophysiological response to the statements, demeanor, and stage movements of the candidates.  Neurophysiological data for each of the 3 voter segments were also viewable in real time on YouTube live. As voters watched, sensors picked up electrical impulses that revealed, second by second, psychophysiological responses.

Joe Biden retorts to President Trump’s interruptions, “Will you shut up, man?”
Neuro reaction to moments as identified by the media.

The researchers analyzed neuro-reactions of the 3 voter groups during key moments during the debate as reported by media (news and twitter trends) as well as identified from the neurological response. During the live stream of the debate with live, in-the-moment neuro-measurement we saw reactivity across Trump, Biden, and undecided voter groups from the very beginning. Neuro-reactivity was highest especially during the more acrimonious portions of sparring and interruptions, with all groups showing large responses when candidate Biden said “Can you shut up, man?” following Trump’s interruptions. “We are continuing to dive deep into this data for key differences among the voter groups,” reports Michelle Niedziela, behavioral neuroscientist and VP of Research & Innovation at HCD Research. “The technology is interesting and watching the live results was very engaging. Results will continue to be released as we learn more.”

Joe Biden critiques President Trump’s handling of COVID-19 stating, “And by the way, maybe you can inject some bleach in your arm and that would take care of it.”
Neuro reaction to moments as identified by the media.

Members of this consortium, HCD Research, Shimmer Inc., IVP Research Labs, and The Schlesinger Group, have been involved in applied neuroscience for over 15 years. The study will be hosted by The Schlesinger Group, Iselin, NJ.  Technology company IVP Research Labs managed the data collection.  Shimmer Inc, a designer and manufacturer of medical and neuroscience research products, provided the biometric research equipment. HCD Research, Inc. interpreted and reported results.

For more information contact Glenn Kessler, President, HCD Research (glenn.kessler@hcdi.net).

Debate moderator, Chris Wallace, struggles to maintain order on topic in discussion.
Neuro reaction to moments as identified by the media.