Twitter language samples reflect collective emotional responses following political leaders' rhetoric during the pandemic across four countries

Olenka Dworakowski, Ryan L. Boyd, Tabea Meier, Peter Kuppens, Matthias R. Mehl, Fridtjof W. Nussbeck, Andrea B. Horn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the global public has relied on their political leaders to guide them through the crisis. The current study investigated if and how political leader's rhetoric would be associated with collective emotional responses. We used text analytical methods to investigate association between political leader speech and daily aggregates of expressed emotions on Twitter. We collected posts concerning Covid-19 and all speeches by the highest executive power from the USA, UK, Germany, and Switzerland. We applied cross-lagged time series analyses. Political leaders whose communication was more analytic and communal corresponded to increased positivity on Twitter. Collective communal focus, in turn, increased after speeches which were more analytic and negative. Processes of socio-affective dynamics between political leaders and the general public are apparent. Our findings demonstrate that political leaders who present public crises competently and with a sense of community are associated with more positive responses on Twitter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-383
Number of pages34
JournalPsychology of Language and Communication
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Twitter
  • collective emotions
  • political leaders
  • socioaffective dynmics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

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