On Wednesday, Vice President Pence was interviewed by CNN's Dana Bash. During the exchange, the VP was asked a question regarding Donald Trump's recent geopolitical decisions, how many people view these as major policy shifts, and what he (Pence) would tell 'voters, back home' about these recent decisions.
As is typical, there's a lot of nonverbal behavior being exhibited in a short amount of time. In this post, however, only the first 1:03 is being evaluated. Please watch just this portion first - and then return. Here is the corresponding dialog:
DANA BASH: "Mr. Vice President, a lot of voters supported the President, a, a, and you, a, because they liked the fact that he was explicit, that 'The US is going to stop being the World's policeman'. Ah, but now, it hasn't even been a hundred days and we've seen military strikes in Syria and Afghanistan - y, y, you talking pretty tough, ah, vis-à-vis, ah, North Korea. Maybe holding out the possibility of military strikes with or without China's help - what do you say to voters, back home, who say, 'Wait a minute, this is not what I signed up for?' "
MIKE PENCE: "I say to voters that President Trump, is a man of his word, and he is the kind of strong leader that is going to pursue vital national interests of the United States of America, ah, and has demonstrated an ability and willingness to use force where necessary. Ah, the President's decision, ah, to launch, ahmm, Cruise Missiles into Syria - to the very airbase that launched that horrific chemical attack against men, women, and little children was the right decision...."
Now watch it once more, this time paying close attention to the frequency of Mike Pence's blinking.
The same dialog will be repeated here, only with VP Pence's blinking notated with red asterisks, *. These are placed in between or in midst of words - regardless of whether Ms. Bash or the Vice President is speaking - but only Pence's blinks are notated.
The camera did not show the Vice President's face the entire time, however, when Pence was on camera, it will be notated by an underline in the following dialog:
MIKE PENCE: "I [begins to shake his head-neck from side-to-side] say to voters that President Trump [pause, deep inhalation, shoulders raise], **is a *man *of his w*ord, a*nd he is the k*ind of strong leader *that is g*oing to pursue* v*ital national interests of the U*nited States of America, ah*, and has demonstrated an ability and willingness to u*se force where necessary. Ah, the President's d*ecision, ah, t*o launch, ahmm, C*ruise M*issiles into Syria - to the v*ery airb*ase that launch*ed that horrific ch*emical attack a*gainst men, w*omen, and* l*ittle ch*ildren was the r*ight decision...."
The highest frequency, by far, of Pence's blinking is 11 blinks in 5 seconds (during 0:36 - 0:41) when he is saying (regarding President Trump), "**is a *man *of his w*ord, a*nd he is the k*ind of strong leader *that is g*oing to pursue* v*ital...". The subject associated with the next most frequent blinking is that of the chemical attack on the men, women, and children of Syria.
The rate of blinking in humans varies. However, for a healthy adult male, it's once every 7 - 9 seconds which is 7.5 blinks per minute. Yet, the Vice President's blinking rate during this statement regarding President Trump was about 27.3 blinks per minute. This increase is not a coincidence.
Summary: Assuming no medical condition is present, blinking frequency is a function of anxiety. More anxiety leads to increased blinking, more relaxation leads to less frequent blinking. If one is speaking (and/or thinking) of innocent people dying of a chemical gas attack - it's natural, and very expected, to exhibit increased anxiety (and thus also, increased blinking). However, one must ask, Why was the Vice President experiencing increased anxiety when making a positive verbal declaration regarding Donald Trump's character? The conclusion: Mike Pence's nonverbal behavior strongly suggests that, during this portion of the interview, he was being deceptive.
What other nonverbal displays did you see which are congruent with the VP's increased blinking?
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