Sunday, July 19, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3251: Donald Trump's Body Language Response to the question, "Have you ever asked God for Forgiveness?" (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Besides belittling John McCain and prisoners of war everywhere, yesterday at the Family Leadership Summit, Donald Trump gave us a few other surprises.

When Frank Luntz asked Trump (beginning at 7:24), "Have you ever asked God for forgiveness?", the 2016 republican presidential candidate initially couldn't answer the question. His circuitous and evasive response detailed how he attended church, loves God, loves his church as well as praise for his (former) pastor, Norman Vincent Peale (who passed twenty-two years ago). Yet Mr. Luntz had to ask him the question again, "But have you ever asked God for forgiveness?"


During 8:34- 8:35, simultaneous with Luntz's words, "..... God for forgiveness?" - we see a fantastic example of what is known as a "tongue jut" or a "lizard tongue". This subconsciously initiated nonverbal signal projects variations on the theme - "I got caught", "I've been bad", "I got away with something" or "I've been foolish". Typically, the mouth opening for these emotional specifics tends to be a fair amount more loosely held versus what we see shown here. This particular tongue jut is a great example of an even more specific subtype - yielding further nuance.


Notice how drawn up in a tight circle the mouth opening is as the tongue jut begins. To anyone who has fed an infant who doesn't care for his food - Donald's mouth and lips configuration are highly reminiscent. Trump's tongue too - much like any baby not wanting his pureed peas or plums seems to be trying to physically push out the unwanted question.


This series facial nonverbals (first three images) can even be associated with levels of physical nausea (If fact, if you try to replicate this facial expression right now - you may even bring on micro-nausea in yourself).


An instant later, we see another emotional display - with a jaw jut, nasal flaring, mid-face tightening, dramatic thinning of the lips, partial closure of the eyelids, lower lid tension and a strong lateral vectoring of the corners of his mouth - all indicate a significant level of anger.

Certainly everyone in the United States (including Mr. Trump of course) has the legal right to practice or not practice any religion or spiritual practice. Yet Trump's response is quite interesting - and from a body language perspective, very telling - for his nonverbal response indeed shows even greater hesitancy - and distaste for the question - over and above his more obvious verbal balking. Mr. Trump very much does not want to answer the question and moreover he's angry that it was asked.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3250: Donald Trump regarding John McCain: "He's no hero" - Body Language Tells us what he really thinks

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3138: Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes, "God She's Beautiful" and Body Language 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2594: Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin Harassment, Part II - Miami Dolphins Coach Joe Philbin's Body Language