Friday, August 19, 2016

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3660: Trump Attorney Michael Cohen's Awkward Exchange with Brianna Keilar, "Says Who?" - Body Language & Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTO)

This exchange between CNN's Brianna Keilar and one of Donald Trump's attorneys, Michael Cohen, rapidly went viral for its high level of awkwardness. Yet when we thin-slice their conversation from a nonverbal perspective we can gain significant insight. What follows is a partial analysis:

When a person speaks out of one side of their mouth, there are several possible causes which should come to mind:

1. Medical or Injury: Certainly injuries can result in long term nerve or muscular deficits. Cerebral vascular accident (Stroke) and other nervous system conditions can also cause an asymmetrical speaking style.

2. Tic-like behavior/Long-Term Habit/Idiosyncratic: While relatively uncommon, it is certainly not rare for a person to have a long-term habit or what may be classified as a facial tic of speaking out of one side of their mouth.

3. Machismo/Swagger: While there is some overlap between the nonverbal swagger via speaking out of one side of the mouth overlapping with a manifestation of insincerity-deception, it's helpful to consider these as separate root causes. Machismo/Swagger is very common in Professional athletes as well as celebrities and as the category implies, this cause is more commonly displayed in men.

4. Insincerity & Deception: In the vast majority of circumstances, there are nonverbal other signals being displayed when deception or insincerity is taking place.

On multiple occasions Mr. Cohen repeats himself with, "Says who?". Note that during these questions as his mouth speaks asymmetrically, he also displays an extended blink with a simultaneous upward movement of his eyebrows and forehead.

During the 20 second segment he displays a hard swallow. At no time did we see him display any hand gestures. Cohen's head and neck extends backward in quick snaps as he repeats his question. 

Coupling these nonverbal observations together with his verbal messages and his vocal qualities - which of the four above possibilities do you think is the most likely explanation for Mr. Cohen's asymmetrical speaking style?

See also:

Nonverbal Communication No. 3659: Ryan Lochte's "Today Show" Interview regarding Alleged Rio Robbery

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3593: What does Tulsi Gabbard think about Hillary Clinton?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2673: New Jersey Bridge Closing - Fort Lee, NJ Mayor Mark Sokolich - What His Body Language Says about His Feelings towards Governor Chris Christie

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3635: Michelle Obama's DNC Speech and a Body Language Mistake

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3647: Yusra Mardini, Refugees, Syrian Swimmer, and Sincere Smiles

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3610: Star Swain sings The Star-Spangled Banner at the Lincoln Memorial - Why Do Singers Close Their Eyes?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3583: Donald Trump, Reaching out to Bernie Sanders' Supporters and Insincerity Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3432: Leonardo DiCaprio reacts to Lady Gaga at Golden Globe Awards