Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3707: The Presidential Debates Part III - Donald Trump v. Hillary Clinton and Sniffing - Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Much has been made of Donald Trump's sniffing during the Presidential Debate with Hillary Clinton. Of course a person can sniff due to allergies or an upper respiratory tract infection - and certainly there are other medical causes for this behavior.

If we can reasonably rule out medical reasons for sniffing (and Mr. Trump has gone on record denying these causes since the debate), from a nonverbal communication perspective, when a person sniffs excessively the most  common cause is:

1. Anxiety

In addition, when the sniffing is clustered with other specific nonverbal signals, it can also be associated with:

2. Deception/Exaggeration (deliberate exaggeration in the context of a debate is a deception)

3. Contempt

It's important to point out that anxiety, deception and contempt - all have other nonverbal manifestations - and of course a person can have these emotions without sniffing.

During the first Presidential Debate, Donald Trump was certainly exhibiting other signals of anxiety (hard swallowing, excessive drinking of water, excessive holding on to lectern, fear expressions, tight tongue jutting, etc.) but some of his sniffing displays were also associated with deception (and correlated with independent fact checkers) as well as contempt.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3706: Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump Presidential Debates - Part II 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3705: Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump Presidential Debate - Trump: I'm 'smart' for paying no taxes 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3696: Jimmy Kimmel's 2016 Emmys Opening Monologue - Sarah Paulson brought Marcia Clark 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3683: Brock Turner Released from Prison after 3 Months

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3672: Jessica Alba, Swass, Body Language and Emotional Intelligence

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3644: Eric Trump, Humayun Khan, Sexual Harassment and Patronizing Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3615: Store Owner Abdullah Muflahi Interview regarding the Shooting of Alton Sterling

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3563: Ariana Grande, Lip Stick, Microexpressions and Body Language