Case Study: EffectCheck® Analysis of Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address

January 20, 2017

By David B. Fogel, Ph.D.

Donald Trump took the oath of office of the President of the United States of America today. His inaugural remarks can be found here. It’s of interest to examine the emotional impact of his address using EffectCheck.

Overall Assessment

As compared to other political speeches, Trump’s address evoked very high levels of confidence, compassion, and happiness. It evoked typical depression and below average anxiety and hostility (see Figure 1).

Trump Inaugural Address Figure 1

Figure 1: Overall EffectCheck assessment of Trump’s inaugural speech.

Word cloud analysis was not prticularly insightful: The most emotionally charged anxiety, hostility, and depression words were “but” and “not” – the most emotionally charged confidence, compassion, and happiness words were “will,” “we,” and “all.”

Structure Analysis

EffectCheck analysis of the emotional flow during Trump’s address shows some insightful moments. In terms of evoked anxiety, it was low overall with a notable exception around words 463-480, when it reached very high levels (see Figure 2).

Trump Inaugural Address Figure 2

Figure 2: EffectCheck analysis of evoked anxiety in Trump’s inaugural address.

This corresponded to the section where Trump offered:

“But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.”

EffectCheck indicates that Trump’s use of evoked hostility correlated with his use of evoked depression, with little differentiation between the two emotions, except into the closing of the address (see Figure 3).

Trump Inaugural Address Figure 3

Figure 3: EffectCheck correlation of evoked hostility and depression in Trump’s inaugural address.

Trump’s use of confidence and compassion also correlated highly, with prolonged sections of very high levels, including going into the close (see Figure 4).

Trump Inaugural Address Figure 4

Figure 4: EffectCheck correlation of evoked confidence and compassion in Trump’s inaugural address.

With regard to evoked happiness, Trump evoked notably very high levels of happiness during the first 250 words. The key happiness impression words during this section were “triumph” and “power” (see Figure 5).

Trump Inaugural Address Figure 5

Figure 5: EffectCheck analysis of evoked happiness during the open remarks of Trump’s inaugural address.

Conclusion

CNN reported many different political analyses of Trump’s address, with remarks ranging from Trump’s speech reflecting his campaign rhetoric, sounding authoritarian, ominous, offering the restoration of popular will, an inspirational message of unity, along with other voices spanning the gamut of political discourse. Punditry aside, CNN was also purported to have polled a 75 percent positive reaction to Trump’s speech.

EffeckCheck analysis shows Trump’s inaugural address evoked very high levels of confidence, compassion, and happiness as compared with other political speeches.