What was the turning point of the third Presidential Debate? Did you see it? It came about 20 minutes after the candidates were introduced. What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis and a glimpse inside Donald Trump's emotional mind.
Hillary Clinton (beginning at 0:15 in the above video): "... Getting rid of any violent person, anybody who should be deported, we should deport them. When it comes to the wall that Donald talks about building - he went to Mexico - had a meeting with the Mexican president. He didn't even raise it. He choked. And then got into a Twitter war because the Mexican president said we're not paying for that wall... "
During 0:31 - 0:33 as Secretary Clinton says, "... And then got into a Twitter war because the Mexican president said ...", (coming just after Trump processes the "He Choked" statement), Donald Trump displays a truly classic example of a subtle expression of contempt. Some may falsely label this a microexpression, and although it is certainly short-lived (lasting about 1.7 seconds), it's technically too long to be classified as such. Don't get hung-up on this definition though - for the significance of this subtle expression of contempt is just as significant as that of a microexpression.
Watch it at regular speed and then at 1/2 and even 1/4 speed - then once again at regular speed. It's quite illustrative to view it with the sound muted as well.
Also of note, is that Trump briefly closes his eyelids in an extended blink during this display. In this context, this dynamic is a contempt amplifier. It also acts as a flag to careful observers. Moreover, when Trump opens his eyelids - he's looking down to his right - the quadrant right-hand dominant people tend to gaze toward much more often when the emotions of regret, sadness, self-criticism are present. Trump knows that he committed a big mistake.
This is the exact moment when the debate turned. This is when Hillary Clinton got under Donald Trump's skin. Prior to this exchange Trump was more composed, polished and well spoken. So not only is this a text-book classic example of a subtle expression of contempt - but it also serves to illustrate just how our performance in any activity, particularly when it involves communication, can be dramatically altered when we let it throw us off our emotional-baseline.
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