Yesterday Gov. John Kasich finished fifth (with 7.6%) in the South Carolina primary. Two days earlier, during a talk at Clemson University, Kasish hugged a supporter. Some have questioned whether or not the candidate was sincere in this action. A brief nonverbal analysis of this dynamic follows.
Note that although Kasich does not keep his close his eyes for the duration of the entire hug - they were closed for a significant percentage of it - particularly for someone the Governor just met.
We keep our eyes closed during a hug when there is an increased level of sincerity. Forty-percent of the mass of the human brain is dedicated to vision. And ninety-percent of our sensory input is visual. Touch, smell, hearing and taste have to 'share' the remaining ten-percent. Thus when we close our eyes - a bit less blood flow and a bit less electrical-chemical activity occurs in the visual portion of our brains - while the other four senses are immediately enhanced - as well as our cognitive and emotional centers. So by closing our eyes, we up-regulate our brain's ability to truly feel emotion as well as enhancing our ability to be more fully present in the moment.
It's important to note Kasich's hand - more specifically right his palm is in full contact with the man's back. Full palmar contact during a hug (and most other gestures) correlates with higher sincerity in the moment and a sincerity quotient in general. This nonverbal signal carries even greater significance because it's performed with the Governor's dominant hand (his right).
In the image below, Gov. Kasich can be seen squeezing his eyelids shut especially tightly. This is one of several nonverbal techniques all of our psyches subconsciously utilize in an effort to try and prevent a full crescendo of tears as well as attempting to diminish an inward growth of sadness/grief.
In summary, this hug of Gov. Kasich's was highly sincere (especially for a man he just met) - and he has the highest sincerity quotient of any of the republican candidates.
This website serves as an objective reference source for the science and art of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc., are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts – not to advance any political, religious or other agenda.
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