Nearly 200 students gathered in an auditorium on the Wichita State University campus Wednesday night, to watch the presidential debate and answer questions about it. They were taking part in a scientific study being conducted by the Elliott School of Communication.
The study was a reaction to the change in debate formats. In Wednesday's debate, the candidates answered questions in six major topics, with 15 minutes to debate their responses in each category.
Between sections, the students answered questions themselves, on how well they understood what the candidates were trying to say in the more in-depth style of debate.
"We're really interested in how people react to the debate, whether they like some things and what about each of those statements really motivates them, compels them to agree with or disagree with one of the candidates," said Jeffrey Jarman with the Elliott School of Communication.
Upper level communication students helped run the study. About halfway through the debate, one said he'd already picked a leader even though he hadn't had a preferred candidate before the debate began.
"I kind of feel like Romney has just done a bit better in communicating his points and maybe going on the attack more," said Tyler Hiebert, a WSU Senior.