Thursday, May 18, 2017

Body Language Analysis No. 3942: Donald Trump, James Comey, Contempt and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

On 18 May 2017, President Trump hosted Columbian President Juan Manuel Santo. The video above includes the majority of their joint press conference.

From a nonverbal communication perspective, the event was laden with teaching examples - two particularly telling moments are highlighted here.

JOURNALIST (beginning at 20:13): Thank you, Mr. President. Ahum, in the light of a very busy news week, a lot of people would like to get to the bottom of a couple of things, give you a chance to - go on record here. Did you at any time urge former FBI Director James Comey in any way, shape, or form to close or to back down the investigation into Michael Flynn? And also as you look back - 

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  [over-talking] No.  No.  Next question.

JOURNALIST: Next question. As you look back over the past six months or year, ahum, have you had any recollection where you’ve wondered if anything you have done - has been something that might be worthy of criminal charges in these investigations or impeachment, as some on the left are implying?  

During 20:33, as Trump says the word, "... Next..." (shown above), and again during the later portion of "...question...", he displays two beautiful examples of extremely brief manifestations of contempt (Microexpressions).

And a few seconds later, during 20:34 - 20:37, as the journalist says, "... Next question. As you look back...", Trump then displays what is known as a "Subtle Expression". It's also one of contempt. As its name implies, it's somewhat difficult to detect (for most people) due to its low magnitude. They also typically last longer.

While nonverbal novices are more familiar with the phenomenon of microexpressions - and they get much more press - subtle expressions are just as important in nonverbal interpretation and behavioral analysis.

These examples, placed side by side, serve as an excellent contrast. Please view them several times at normal speed and again in slow motion.

Another intriguing moment comes a few seconds later (20:43 - 20:44) immediately after the journalist says, " As you look back over the past six months or year, ahum, have you had any recollection where you’ve wondered if anything you have done" - and then simultaneous with the journalist saying, ... has been something ...", Donald Trump blinks, then looks down to his right, then blinks again as he reestablishes his gaze upon the Journalist.

The vast majority of right-handed people will look down to their right during moments of high anxiety particularly when those feelings are linked to sadness or regret.

Blinking which punctuates the beginning and/or the end of gaze direction changes are longer in duration and are much more correlative with anxiety.

Summary: Donald Trump displayed contempt during a key question in today's press conference - most likely toward James Comey or for the journalist who asked the question. The President also showed signs of significant regret and anxiety when asked about recent past actions.

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See also:

Body Language Analysis No. 3941: H.R. McMaster’s Press Conference, Part II — Donald Trump, Russia & Classified Information

Body Language Analysis No. 3939: The Russians are Confident - Sergey Lavrov, Rex Tillerson, and Donald Trump

Body Language Analysis No. 3937: Mr. Lavrov Goes To Washington - “Was he fired? You’re kidding!” - Sergey Lavrov, Rex Tillerson, and James Comey

Body Language Analysis No. 3935: Donald Trump and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3921: Kim Jong-un, North Korea, Alpha Status, and Clapping

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3871: Emma Watson's Old Habit, Harry Potter Outtake and Anxiety

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3864: Uber's CEO, Travis Kalanick Arguing with an Uber Driver regarding Falling Fares - Escalation v. De-Escalation, Body Language and Emotional Intelligence

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3861: Emma Stone, The Oscars and Sincerity

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3808: Felicity Jones' Sincere Smile - Body Language and Emotional Intelligence