Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Reader 1

Megan Zirnstein

Reader 2

Werner Zorman

Reader 3

Jennifer Groscup

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

2021 Daphne Liu


During the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders have been spotlighted as voices of reason in addressing the management of the crisis at large. This study examined how gender and emotionality in political speeches may influence perceptions of leadership during the pandemic. Twenty excerpts of original speeches from leaders regarding the pandemic were assessed for emotionality, then manipulated so that each excerpt had a high and low emotional valence version. Participants were presented with 20 pairings of excerpts (either high or low emotion) and pictures of speakers (either male or female), and they were asked to rate the effectiveness of the message, their perception of the speaker as a leader, and the emotional intelligence of the speaker for each pairing. Female speakers were rated as significantly more emotionally intelligent than male speakers, regardless of the emotional valence of the speech. This contributes evidence to previous research regarding the existing stereotype of the perception of female leaders as having higher emotional intelligence (Eagly & Carli, 2003; Folta et al., 2012) and contextualizes the perception of leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.