Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3311: Ben Carson to Donald Trump - "He's an Okay Doctor" - Trump's Body Language Faux Pas (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Earlier tonight the second Republican Presidential Primary debate for the 2016 race was conducted at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. It was entertaining (About a week ago in a phone interview, Trump had called Carson an "Okay doctor, not a great doctor". Toward the end of the above video, Ben Carson throws it back to Donald Trump referring to the real estate man with, "He's an okay doctor").

This post is the first of several body language analyses regarding this debate and is not intended to be comprehensive - but to highlight specific nonverbal examples in a teaching forum.

This exchange between Ben Carson, Donald Trump and the debate moderator, Jake Tapper - dealt with the subject of autism and how some people feel that perhaps vaccinations have a causative relationship. Dr. Carson pointed out that the medical research does not support this popular opinion but recognized that vaccines in infancy and childhood should be spread out over a longer duration - which Donald Trump had just said (although a bit less eloquently).

Trump then reiterates and agrees with Carson interrupting, "And that's all I'm saying Jake, that's all I'm saying."

A second later, Trump then touches Carson on his elbow. This act was an invasion of Carson's personal space (more specifically his "intimate space") and outside the scenario of culturally recognized invitation (e.g., handshake, "high-five","low-five", fist bump, etc.) should never have been done - particularly in such a public setting. While the elbow is indeed the least invasive place to touch another person - such a clear display of "False Intimacy" was a manifestation (one of many) of Trump's Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It's a patronizing act and an attempt to show dominance. Note this body language is also highly incongruent with Trump's earlier statement - referring to Carson as an "Okay doctor, not a great doctor."

In business, negotiation, personal scenarios, etc. - touching another person when it's uninvited will destroy rapport - usually irreparably. Once a certain level of familiarity, comfort and rapport has truly been established - then carefully selected touching can further enhance rapport - but NOT before. Even then, such an act should be reserved, for the most part, for personal, non-business and private/semi-private settings.

Even as Trump is still touching Carson, both men turn away from each other - with their heads and necks - as well subtly turning and leaning with their torsos.

These simultaneous subconsciously driven acts indicate their mutual disdain for what just occurred.

This website serves as an objective reference source for the science and art of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc. are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts – not to advance any political, religious or other agenda.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3310: Carly Fiorina's response to Donald Trump's, "Look at that Face!"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3257: Donald Trump at the Texas-Mexico Border - Body Language of a Hyper-Alpha

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2276:  Michelle Obama's Eye Roll .... What was she thinking? and  What Did Boehner's & Barack's Body Language Say? 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3268: Advice to the Ten Republicans for Thursday Night's Presidential Republican Debate (First Debate)

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3209: G7 Summit - Angela Merkel, Barack Obama and Matteo Renzi - and a Major Body Language Mistake

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3244: Serena Williams' on-court interview at Wimbledon

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2831: "Walking Contest", Anxiety, Mirroring and False Intimacy