Lobinger, Katharina, & Cornelia Brantner (2016). Different ways of seeing depictions of politicians: A qualitative-quantitative analysis using Q methodology. Communications. The European Journal of Communication Research, 41(1), 47-69.

Abstract: Visual depictions of politicians play an essential role in the impression formation of the audience because they convey visual cues and attributes related to, for example, likeability or competence. This study examines the subjective audience evaluations based on the visual portrayals of a politician by using Q methodology, a qualitative-quantitative approach of audience research. Q-sorts of 33 different pictures showing a high-ranking European politician, along with personal interviews, were used to probe the audience’s perception of a favorable or unfavorable picture. Q factor analysis yielded four groups of participants. The audience groups differ regarding their expectation toward favorably depicted political behavior and the involved balance of professional political leadership competences, social competences, and personality. In addition, technical and formal representation strategies were identified as important visual cues, but not for all audience groups.

Katharina Lobinger <katharina.lobinger@uni-bremen.de> is affiliated with the University of Bremen, Germany.

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