Sunday, December 11, 2016

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3783: John McCain on CIA's assessment of Russia's Tampering in US Presidential Election - Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Senator John McCain was a guest on Face The Nation this morning. McCain was the 2008 Republican Candidate for President. He also sits on the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs - as well as the Armed Services Committee. Senator McCain is a Navy veteran and former prisoner of war (held for 5.5 years in North Vietnam). Both his father and his grandfather were four-star Admirals.

McCain has said that it's clear that the Russian government interfered with the 2016 US Presidential election and there should be a formal, thorough, bipartisan investigation.

There were multiple nonverbal signals of interest contained in this short video clip - but one in particular is highlighted here.

Beginning at 0:19, Senator McCain continues, "... But [deep inhalation] facts are stubborn things. They, did, hack, into, this campaign and ..."

As he says, "... But facts are stubborn things ... " (0:21 - 0:23), John McCain displays what is known as a "Self-Righteous Head Wiggle" (SRHW).

Although in common speech, the term "Self-Righteous" has a derogatory bent to it, in this context its usage does not necessarily imply arrogance (although that emotion can co-exist), rather it connotes a high degree of confidence.

A Self-Righteous Head Wiggle is characterized by a quick, side-to-side movement of the head & neck which is relatively high in frequency and usually mild-to-moderate in amplitude. Although not always, Self-Righteous Head Wiggles often occur in clusters - punctuating throughout a conversation or statement. It's made by people who are most commonly relative authorities or alpha personalities within the group. Thus a SRHW is seen in the context of significant confidence with accompanying self-assured emotional vocal tones.

A self-righteous head wiggle may be very brief (e.g., a microexpression or near-microexpression) - or more typically, it lasts several seconds (as is seen here).

It's imperative to note that a Self-Righteous Head Wiggle can only be accurately assessed in the dynamic context of a real-time event or video - not via still images (please watch video).

Another important feature with a SRHW is that, although the primary movement vector is a side-to-side wiggle, there's often an additional, simultaneous, backward moving component (as McCain exemplifies here). When seen (more common with larger audiences), this added backward motions may demonstrate another layer of emotional content - that of Incredulity (McCain is in disbelief that others don't agree with the CIA's analysis). Disgust and/or contempt nonverbal signals can also be seen with such additional backward motion, although neither is present with this example.

When a forward movement is present (also not seen in this particular example) - there's often coexisting nonverbal signals of arrogance and condescending emotions (and in such cases the audiences are typically smaller in number [even one-on-one conversations] and with subordinates rather than peers or superiors).

Another commonly seen feature of a SRHW is an increase in volume, pitch (vocal frequency) and speaking speed - occurring simultaneously with (or nearly simultaneous) the SRHW. McCain does display all of these features.

Similar analogous movements often occur involving the jaw, torso and even the entire body. In this example McCain's torso pulls backward, but has no significant side-to-side motion.

Another common phenomenon of the self-righteous head wiggle is that it's more commonly seen in settings where hierarchical structure is the prominent (as opposed to flat organizations).

Summary: Senator John McCain has a very high degree of confidence that the CIA's analysis of Russian hacking into the 2016 US Presidential Election is indeed accurate. He also has a significant level of disbelief that others don't agree with the CIA's analysis. Senator McCain views Russia's action as a serious threat against the United States.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3782: Zoey Deutch, Ryan Seacrest and Embarrassment

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3636: Donald Trump, Hillary's Emails, Putin and Russia

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3780: Donald Trump's Chief Strategist Steve Bannon Time Magazine Pic 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3778: Steve Harvey Recounts His Miss Universe Mistake

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3243: Bryan Cranston's Body Language at the 2015 Comic-Con

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3223: Jordan Spieth, the U.S. Open, Annie Verret, Kissing and Body Language 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3350: What happens when you Suddenly meet Heath Ledger

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3385: Adele, "Hello" and SNL - Body Language Tell