Sunday, May 8, 2016

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3551: Donald Trump, Body Language and an Alpha-Beta Hybrid (PHOTOS)

Donald Trump is of course known for what many would call extreme statements. These alpha and hyper-alpha verbal messages coexist with similar magnitude paralanguage (e.g., vocal qualities) and body language.

The images included here however, are nonverbal examples of what are known as "Alpha-Beta Hybrids" (of which there are many). While these hand gestures are still alpha in their emotional tone (dominant, aggressive, assertive) - they're significantly muted by the flexion of Trump's forefinger (index finger). This is to Trump's advantage (or Clinton's or Sanders', etc.) as it projects these same alpha qualities while avoiding being overly aggressive.

Hyper-alpha behavior (of all types) will solidify one's political base but has a strong tendency to alienate undecided voters.

Of these two examples the one above is a bit more beta because of the modest palm-up orientation while plane of the hand of the configuration shown below is more vertical - and thus a bit more alpha.

Although this particular nonverbal display wasn't "invented" by Donald Trump - it's relatively rare and few others currently use it. Because of Trump's success to date, there's little doubt that in the future other politicians will use this gesture more frequently. 

As the general election draws nearer and the two party "leaders" have been chosen, it's very typical (though not universal) for the candidates (in pursuing the independent voters) to use less extreme nonverbal behavior.

This website serves as a reference source for the art and science of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the author. 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.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis 3550: Robert Downey Jr. Auditions Jimmy Fallon

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3547: Kate Middleton on Cover of Vogue's 100th Anniversary Issue

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3545: Eric Trump's Reaction to President Obama's Comments at the 2016 White House Correspondents' Dinner

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2313: Elisa Lam Video in Elevator at Cecil Hotel - What Her Body Language Tells Us .... 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3028: Chris Rock's (and other Comedians) Body Language Trick that Gets You Laughing Easier  

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3025: Vladimir Putin, Alpha Hand Signals and "The Claw"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3164: Johnny Depp's portrayal of Whitey Bulger in "Black Mass" trailer

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3221: Gov. Nikki Haley Choking Back Tears - was She Sincere?