No doubt you've heard - on Friday night Mike Pence attended the Broadway musical Hamilton.
After the Tony-winning performance was completed, Brandon Victor Dixon (the actor playing Aaron Burr) read a statement to Vice President-Elect Pence:
“We have a message for you, sir. We hope that you will hear us out. Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton: An American Musical. We really do. We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us, all of us. … We truly thank you for sharing this show — this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men, women, of different colors, creeds, and orientations.”
Although there's many signals for low sincerity, the best single indicator of insincerity is frequent over-use of an elevated central forehead muscle contraction. The correlation grows even stronger when this forehead finding is coupled with a partial (mild) mouth smile.
If you were Daniel Day Lewis or Meryl Streep - and you were cast as an insincere character - one facial expression you certainly would want to adopt a good share of the time is an elevated central forehead contraction with a partial mouth smile.
As it turns out, many politicians (of all stripes) routinely over-use this same facial expression. For many it's one of their few default faces. They believe they're projecting empathy, patience and understanding - but (for all except their most loyal constituents) it backfires - and instead it sends signals of insincerity and sarcastic incredulity.
Summary: VP-Elect Mike Pence was not being sincere when he said he "wasn't offended" by the remarks made by a representative cast member of Hamilton (Brandon Victor Dixon).
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