Thursday, February 11, 2016

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3463: Marco Rubio, Robotic Behavior and Insincerity - Body Language (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Marco Rubio suffered a fifth place finish in the New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday (Behind Trump, who won - Kasich in second, followed by Cruz and then Bush). After finishing third in the Iowa Caucuses last week - the highest of the so-called establishment republican candidates, many felt he had a chance to perhaps win or place a strong second in the Granite State. However during the debate in Manchester on Saturday, Senator Rubio repeated himself multiple times and Governor Chris Christie promptly called him out on this overly-scripted behavior.  Some who oppose his candidacy have even protested at his events dressed as robots as a visual metaphor for this automaton-like behavior.

Two days later (this time in Nashua) Senator Rubio again became robotic. A short excerpt of his repetition is included in the video above (the full speech is shown below).

Any person who is in general, a sincere individual, can have moments where he/she is insincere. And certainly those whose overall personality are insincere do indeed have moments of sincerity.

One verbal tell of insincere behavior is the over-use of clichés. Clichés morph and change with the years. These verbal clichés may be more typical such and multi-worded such "All is fair in love and war" or they may be but a single word such as the extremely over-used, "Actually". Most clichés are contagions from those around us - via our local or regional culture, yet it is also a form of a cliché to repeat a word or phrase unique (or nearly so) to oneself. It's this variation of what Rubio was guilty.

When verbal clichés are spoken, the human brain essentially is using the biological equivalent of a computer sub-routine - a routine behavior/response which is compartmentalized and allows a lesser degree of computer processing power. When instead it's the human brain - the analog is less thinking. Less thinking - more knee-jerk behavior. Less thinking - less sincerity.

Thus when verbal clichés are used - there is less sincerity being felt in that moment. And therefore it makes sense that we would then expect to see signals of such insincerity displayed nonverbally as well - and that's exactly what occurs. Senator Rubio gives us a great example of this nonverbal insincerity coupled with his verbal insincerity (his repetition-clichés).

During 0:21 - 0:24 in the video above (and 7:51 - 7:54 in the complete speech below), note that Rubio touches his chest with his hand. But take a moment to slice this moment a bit thinner.

Rubio is right handed - yet he used his left hand. When a person gestures, illustrates or uses a MAP (manipulator, adaptor, pacifier) - but uses just one hand, those actions performed with the dominant hand are more sincere, while those with the non-dominant hand are significantly less sincere.

The Senator touched over his right chest - when the heart is located in the center-left (anatomy not political party). People know this intuitively. Even those who are holding and infant for the very first time in their life, will naturally place a baby's head over their left chest - regardless of their own hand-dominance.

Marco tapped his left chest at first - rather than placing his hand down. Touching once for a second or two without a tapping/patting is a higher level of sincerity - while patting connotes less sincerity and lower emotional comfort. Remember this while you in the midst of a hug with your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend.

When Rubio did eventually touch without tapping, he touched with just his fingers and his thumb - with his palm elevated off of his chest. A full palmar touch is indicative of a much higher degree of sincerity vs. just fingers/thumb or finger tips.

Thus just with this "single gesture" there are four "sub-gestures" of insincerity. Again, Marco Rubio may very well be a sincere person on the whole, but in this moment he wasn't feeling it - he was insincere - and this is exactly what many people have been saying regarding his repetitive phrases. This is also the specific reason many have attributed to his poor showing in New Hampshire.

If Rubio (or anyone) was more self-aware of and nuanced with his body language - this increased nonverbal skill would have prevented him from falling into this verbal looping of insincerity ... and primary-losing behavior.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3462: Donald Trump calls Ted Cruz a "Pussy"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3315: Carly Fiorina, John Kasich and the Ten Dollar Bill - Republican Debate

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3362: Marco Rubio and Alleged Misuse of State Party Credit Card 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3453: Marco Rubio's Hyper-Alpha, Backfiring Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Quiz-Analysis No. 2902: How Sincere was Ray Rice's Apology?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3460: Eli Manning Reacts to Bronco's Super Bowl Touchdown

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3394: People react to being called beautiful - Body Language of a Sincere Smile

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3308: Hillary Clinton's Apology - Certainly Late, Yet Was It Sincere?

Rubio's Entire speech: