PULLMAN, Wash. – Prospective voters will have their emotional responses recorded in real time during the final presidential debate on Oct. 22. The lead researcher, Washington State University’s Paul Bolls, will be available to comment on the results shortly after the debate ends at 8:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

A research team led by Bolls, associate dean of research at WSU’s Murrow College of Communication, in collaboration with HCD research, will use media psychophysiology tests on a sample of 45 voters. These tests involve placing sensors on the hand that detect sweat gland activity revealing the intensity of emotional response. These involuntary responses will be correlated with a written survey to measure how much voters were impacted by the whole debate as well as individual statements or physical actions of the candidates.

The test subjects will be people who are registered and intend to vote but have not yet cast their ballots. This will include people who say they are committed to vote for Donald Trump and Joe Biden as well as undecided voters.

The voters’ emotional responses to the candidates will be recorded as they view the debate at a research facility in Philadelphia. Bolls will be in Pullman analyzing the data in real-time during the debate.

Media contacts:

  • Paul Bolls, Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, 509-335-6149, pbolls@wsu.edu
  • Corrie Wilder, Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, (425) 405-1776 corrie.wilder@wsu.edu