Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off tonight in the third and final Presidential Debate of the 2016 campaign. The debate was held at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
During the portion of the debate when the topics of Vladimir Putin, alleged Russian hacking and their attempts to influence the American election were discussed - it was also the time when Donald Trump displayed the highest level of anxiety. What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis of this exchange.
Deep sniffing (seen/heard during multiple times in the above video): Although other medical influences cannot be ruled out, Mr. Trump's deep sniffing is in part a nervous, tic-like behavior. His deep inhalations in this debate were most frequent during his discussion of Putin and Russia.
Drinking water (0:53 - 0:55): Although Mr. Trump drank water less tonight compared with the other two debates - he did so multiple times (Secretary Clinton did not drink water during tonight's debate). The mouth and throat both grow dry as a normal physiologic response to anxiety.
False Microphone Adjustments (1:00 - 1:02): Mr. Trump adjusted his microphone at least seven times during tonight's debate (more than either of the two previous Presidential Debates). This is a surrogate behavior for self-touching and is both a signal of anxiety (as is displayed here), however it can also be a signal deception (depending on the other nonverbal signals with which it is clustered).
Summary: The portion of tonight's Presidential Debate triggering the highest level of anxiety for Donald Trump was during the discussion of Vladimir Putin and alleged Russian Hacking.
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