Passionate Hiking Fan or Loving Parent? How Personalized Self-Presentation in the Media Affects the Perception of Female and Male Politicians

Nora Denner, Svenja Schäfer, Christian Schemer


Even though studies have intensively investigated personalization in the media, little is known about the effects of personal information on the perception of politicians (privatization). Especially if politicians share information about their private life, gender might play an important role. To test this assumption, we conducted two experiments (2 × 3 between-subjects design, Nstudy1 = 472; Nstudy2 = 739) varying gender of a politician (male/female) and the disclosure of personal information (no information/hobby/family) in a fictitious news interview. Results show that gender can play a crucial role depending on the form of privatization. While we see no significant changes in the politician’s perception when they are mentioning their hobby, we find that, for a male politician, sharing information about family life in a traditional manner leads to a decline in trust and reduces perceptions of warmth. For a female politician, the different kinds of self-presentation do not affect image perception and voting outcomes.


personalization, privatization, political communication, gender roles, experimental research

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