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Embodied information affects judgements about politicians: The impact of haptic weight sensations and hand cleansing

Authors

  • Kai Kaspar,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
    2. Institute of Psychology, University of Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany
    • Correspondence should be addressed to Kai Kaspar, Department of Psychology, University of Cologne, Richard-Strauss-Str. 2, 50931 Cologne, Germany. (E-mail: kkaspar@uni-koeln.de).

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  • Andreas Klane

    1. Institute of Psychology, University of Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany
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  • K. Kaspar developed the study concept. K. Kaspar and A. Klane contributed to the study design. Data collection was performed by A. Klane. The data analysis and interpretation was performed by K. Kaspar. K. Kaspar wrote the manuscript. A. Klane approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.

Abstract

Politicians' characteristics attract voters' attention and dominate impression formation. Thereby, social judgements are deduced from different information being available in a certain situation. The literature suggests that incidental bodily sensations can influence judgement processes. Here, two bodily treatments—the haptic sensation of weight and the act of hand cleansing—simultaneously contribute to judgements about politicians. This study expands previous works by (a) investigating potential interactions of two haptic information cues, (b) providing evidence for the significant role of conceptual closeness between embodied cues and judgement dimensions, (c) showing that hand cleansing leads to harsher moral judgements independently of whether a misconduct has been committed or not, and (d) showing that the familiarity of the target to be judged does not moderate the effect of embodied information. The results demonstrate that judgements can be modulated by basal sensorimotor experiences. We discuss implications and the important issue of result generalisation and replicability.

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