On Thursday, the two-year anniversary of Super Storm Sandy, Governor Chris Christie lost his temper during a speech with an audience member (James Keady) on the streets of Belmar, New Jersey. There were a multitude of nonverbal displays during this short video snippet of the event, yet the most telling one is discussed below.
Although Governor Christie certainly is feeling and displaying anger here (and most everyone who watches this video can see this), in this moment his primary emotion is that of contempt (which most everyone misses).
A second, stronger contempt display
Few people can accurately define contempt. Contempt occurs in a social context in which one person strongly downgrades the character/value/morality of another person or group of people. Simultaneously the person projecting contempt feels they are superior.
Governor Christie's words and vocal qualities in this scene are highly congruent with his nonverbal signals - thus in these moments he has a high sincerity quotient. His words and paralanguage are contemptuous - and so is his body language. The vast majority of the time when we speak of sincerity, we frame it in a positive emotional context - this however is an exception, for contempt is a highly negative and disruptive emotion.
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