The purpose of this research was to investigate the effects of imagery in a leader’s speech on listeners’ perceptions of the leader’s charisma. A former US president’s inaugural address was rewritten to create low and high imagery versions, and audio recordings of the two speeches were made. Participants were randomly assigned to high or low speech imagery conditions. After listening to the speech, they provided ratings on various summary leadership measures. The high imagery speech resulted in higher ratings of charisma than the low imagery speech. This effect was partially mediated by state positive affect (having controlled for trait affect levels). High imagery led to increased charisma ratings partially through increasing listeners’ state positive affect relative to their trait affect baseline level. Implications for theory are addressed.
Source: “Speech imagery and perceptions of charisma: The mediating role of positive affect” from The Leadership Quarterly, Volume 19, Issue 3, June 2008, Pages 283-296
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