Sunday, April 15, 2018

Body Language Analysis No. 4261: President Trump's Address regarding the Retaliatory Strike on Syria - Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

On 14 April 2018, the United States, United Kingdom, and France carried out a coordinated retaliatory military air strike against the Syrian government. This act was in response to the chemical weapons attack the Syrian forces perpetrated upon their own people on 7 April 2018 in Douma. The Syrian government has denied they carried out this mass-poisoning and have called the retaliation a violation of international law.

Shortly after the retaliatory attack, Donald Trump addressed the nation from the White House. A video of this speech is included above. What follows is a nonverbal and paralanguage analysis of one crucial segment of his address. 

PRESIDENT TRUMP (continuing at 6:38): ... We saw the anguish that can be unleashed and the evil that can take hold.  By the end of World War - One - more than one million people had been killed or injured by chemical weapons. We never want to see that ghastly specter return... 

During 6:47, just as he's finishing saying the word, "... War ..." the President:

• Contracts and Elevates his Central Forehead Muscles
• His mouth hyper-gesticulates
• Crucially, his mouth does NOT take on a saddened configuration
• Tilts his head/neck to his right
• Raises his right shoulder

When a sincere person is feeling emotional or physical pain for her/himself - or experiencing these feelings for another person/group of people via empathy - their:

• Central Forehead Contracts & Elevates
• Mouth takes on a sad, scared, or painful configuration

The elevated central forehead contraction (an elevated CFC, not the entire width of the forehead - but just the central [medial] portion) is a monumentally important nonverbal display - which the vast majority people don't nuance. This includes those individuals who constantly attempt to feign empathy - and this is exactly what the President is doing here. Although we certainly don't welcome their bad behavior, we should be thankful for their poor acting skills - for it allows us to suss out the insincere people from the sincere ones.

A split-second later (still during 6:47), as the President says, "... One ...", he shrugs with his:

• Shoulders
• Hands
• Eyebrows
• Forehead

• He also Rapidly torques his head 

§ Note: Although Donald Trump's forehead is moderately treated with Botox, we are still able to see these important contractions/dynamics. 

A shrug indicates the thought-emotion of:

• I don't know
• I don't care
• What does it matter?

A shoulder shrug (or any of the lesser-appreciated shrugs) are COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTEXT HERE. Why would a person be thinking-feeling such emotions when talking about the issue of deaths in chemical warfare? In waging war? If one is operating from the foundation and premise of empathy - there is NO REASON.

Another excellent insincerity tell is exhibited in this same moment from a Paralanguage/Statement Analysis perspective:

• The hyperbolic emphasis of the word "One" (both in tone and in volume).

Why is this word emphasized? Always remember: When the less important words of a sentence are emphasized - while the some of the more important ones are monotone/homogenized -  it's a monumentally classic signal of insincerity.

Additionally - when you observe both nonverbal signals of insincerity simultaneous with paralanguage flags of insincerity - you can be 100% certain that the person's thoughts and feelings are not congruent with their words. They are lying. They have other agenda. Protect your flank.

Summary: President Trump was insincere during this address. He was feigning empathy. He's parroting this emotion. He's character acting. It's one thing to be insincere passively - it's more nefarious to actively fake it.

While you may or may not agree with President Trump's decision (or the UK's or France's) to retaliate against Syria (or the precise manner/timing of their retaliation) - that is not what this analysis is discussing. I'm here to analyze and teach nonverbal behavior.

What many people do NOT understand, is when the central forehead is contracted and elevated - but the mouth is not simultaneously sad, scared, or expressing pain - the person is experiencing a completely different set of emotions (e.g., CFC with Sad/Scared/Painful Mouth vs. CFC with other types of mouth expressions). While this may sound like geeky-detail - it's one of the most important nonverbal distinctions you'll ever learn. It will save you time, money, hassle, a bad marriage, and maybe your life.

Commit yourself right now - to collecting images/screen-grabs and their corresponding URLs of these two expression variations. Study them and refer to them often. And whenever you see these displayed by others in your own, real-life experiences - take detailed mental notes.

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See also:

Body Language Analysis No. 4260: James Comey on Good Morning America re: Trump, Russia, and the Steele Dossier

Body Language Analysis No. 4258: Sarah Huckabee Sanders' reaction to the question: "Has the President at Any Time thought about Stepping Down?"

Body Language Analysis No. 4256: President Trump's Reaction to FBI Raid on Michael Cohen

Body Language Analysis No. 4254: Tony Robbins, Nanine McCool, and the #MeToo Movement

Body Language Analysis No. 4242: Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, and Deception (Part II)

Body Language Analysis No. 4198: Lupita Nyong'o, Black Panther, and Attention to Detail

Body Language Analysis No. 4166: Logan Paul's Apology

Body Language Analysis No. 4039: Blue Angels, Surprise, Emotional Processing, and Empathy

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2922: Evacuating Yazidis from Iraq's Mount Sinjar - A Daughter's Anguish, Empathy and Mirror Neurons