Millions of people will have their television sets tuned to this evening’s presidential debate, hanging on every word spoken by President Barack Obama or challenger Mitt Romney, but maybe they should be paying closer attention to their eyes.
According to Boston College psychophysiologist Joseph Tecce, with only one exception, the candidate who has blinked more during the debates has lost the election. (George W. Bush blinked more, but still beat Al Gore in 2000.)
In a story first published on The Daily’s website, Tecce bases his claim on the relationship between eye movements and emotional state—that things like stress can cause a person to blink more often and that people see it as a sign of distress.
Tecce believes that the audience may form a negative impression of the faster-blinking candidate and that person may be under a greater amount of stress.
In the 2008 election, Obama blinked 62 times per minute on average, while John McCain was a much more rapid blinker, registering an average of 104 per minute.
There is evidence on the other side as well though. During the primary debates in January, Texas Governor Rick Perry only blinked an average of 16 timer per minute, but he, of course, lost the GOP nomination.
So, who do you think will win tonight’s debate?
Will you pay attention to their eyes?
Do you believe blinking will affect the outcome?
The first of three debates leading up to the election will be on domestic policy. For a full schedule and live streaming, click here. Looking for a debate-watching party?