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Non-Verbal Communication Expert Analyzes 1st Presidential Debate

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A non-verbal communication expert watched the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney believes both candidates did well.

University of Pittsburgh Political Communications Professor Jerry Shuster pays attention to mannerisms and facial expressions. He says that's 85 percent of what an audience takes away.

Shuster noticed Governor Romney's appearance. He says the president always tends to have great stage presence.

"Governor Romney has not always enjoyed that, but tonight he seems dramatically different in appearance in terms of – even a kind of a more youthful," he said.

And by the middle of the debate, he believed Romney was doing a better job of getting his points across and that Obama was struggling to refute them.

But when the TV screen was split, he believed Governor Romney's facial expressions could turn people off.

"When it shifts from a very positive look and one of confidence to one of cynicism, then it takes on a different characteristic and affects the audience dramatically different," he said.

By the end Shuster believes both did well – no major gaffes – but was there a winner?

"No – I don't think there was an out and out winner," he said. "I think as I said, I think if you were an Obama supporter, you think Obama won. If you're a Romney supporter, Romney won. That's how close the debate was."

The next debate will be next week between the vice presidential candidates.

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