Feasibility of contextual behavioral speech analyses of US presidents: Inaugural addresses of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, 1993–2017

Authors:
Jordan Belisle, Dana Paliliunas, Mark R.Dixon, & Jonathan Tarbox

Abstract:

We evaluated the feasibility of analyzing data from speeches of United States presidents from a contextual behavioral perspective. Relational frames present in inaugural addresses given by Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump from 1993 to 2017 were compared. The greatest between subject variance was observed in their use of coordinative and distinctive relations, with Donald Trump using the largest number of frames of distinction and Barack Obama using the largest number of frames of coordination. Within subject analyses show that the use each type of relation was not equivalent, and the relations most commonly used by each president varied. These data suggest that behavioral scientists can generate meaningful, reliable analyses from publicly available text, and results generated in the present study are discussed in a larger sociopolitical context.

This article is restricted to ACBS members. Please join or login with your ACBS account.