WATCH: Texas A&M Human Behavior Lab reveals subconscious feelings during Democratic debate

Published: Nov. 21, 2019 at 5:19 PM CST
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As five self-proclaimed Democrats watched Wednesday night’s presidential debate, a laboratory at Texas A&M University was monitoring their brainwaves, eye movement, and facial expressions.

On Thursday, the lead researcher joined First News at Four to reveal what his team learned.

“Sometimes what we say we’re going to do and what we end up doing doesn’t necessarily perfectly align,” said Marco Palma, director of the Texas A&M Human Behavior Laboratory. For example, in the 2016 election, polls had Hillary Clinton winning the presidency, but in reality, the votes came in for now-President Donald Trump.

“We’re using neurophysiological responses to understand how people actually make those decisions,” Palma said. “And this is particularly important at this point in the presidential campaigns because people are still informing their preferences.”

Palma says that of the participants tested during Wednesday night’s debate, some verbally said they had a preference for one candidate, but then displayed mostly negative neurophysiological responses to that candidate’s debate performance.

Three examples of these body and brain responses are in the video player above. See the clip for the full explanation from Palma.