Deftly dodging questions pays off — just ask successful politicians. That’s because people often don’t notice when someone avoids a question by talking about a similar topic, say Harvard psychologists Todd Rogers and Michael Norton. Listeners focus more on whether they like a speaker than on the content of a response, the researchers find. Detection of question dodging shoots up when listeners are told to pay attention to the relevance of a videotaped speaker’s answers to questions or if queries are displayed on-screen during answers, the researchers report in an upcoming Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. —Bruce Bower
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