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Dress and Natural [Neural] Codes

Smell, Setting, and Audience

When you watch political campaign commercials or see political advertisements that include the candidate or politician, do you notice how candidates will appear wearing various kinds of dress depending on their message and setting for the commercial? Generally, if one is shown in a local restaurant dining with citizens of that locale, the candidate is dressed down—wearing a polo shirt and jeans or something only a little sporty. The general message when they do that is that they are like the members of that community and, as such, can represent those people well. Consider the effect this has on audiences.

Further, consider the impact of a message if you have actually attended a political campaign event or policy introduction. Being in the same place as the speaker and experiencing the atmosphere of the moment combined with the verbal and visual messages to elicit certain responses one may not have if viewing it on television. So, a physical proximity between speaker and audience contributed to the rhetorical effect. Generally, when one considers “medium” the term is defined as a form of technology—personal or broadcast; print, video, computer-mediated communication in various forms. I argue in this chapter that in-person or face-to-face communication be considered within the discussion of medium used for communication, especially relative to persuasive communication because the context of face-to-face, same proximity enables additional modes of representation to impact the message.

In this chapter I describe the effects of non-verbal attributes of the message further—dress, context/environment, and how real-time, same location dynamics affect the message and its neuro-rhetoric. I also expound on the sense of smell and its relationship to multimodal persuasive messages and the model.

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