Sunday, April 15, 2018

Body Language Analysis No. 4262: Wendy Vitter, the U.S. District Court, and Brown v. Board of Education - Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

In January 2018, WendyVitter was nominated by Donald Trump to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Last week, Ms. Vitter was questioned by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. What follows is a nonverbal analysis of a controversial portion of that exchange. The time markers and dialog are referencing those contained within the video above.

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (beginning at 0:30): Do you believe that "Brown versus Board of Education' was correctly decided?

WENDY VITTER: Ω Senator - [suttering] I don't mean to be coy, but I think I get into a, ah, difficult, [stammering] a different - difficult area when I start commenting on Supreme Court decisions which are correctly decided and which I may disagree with. Again, my personal, political, or religious views I would set aside. That is Supreme Court precedent. It is binding. If I're [stammering] were honored to be confirmed, I would be bound by it, and of course I would uphold it. 

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: Do you believe it was correctly decided?

WENDY VITTER: And again, I would [stammering] respectfully , ahum, not comment on, what could be - my bosses' ruling - the Supreme Court I would be bound by it - and, if I start commenting on, 'I agree with this case, or don't agree with this [stuttering] case', I think we get into a slippery slope ...

There were many different types of nonverbal displays in this short video, however, one in particular is examined here.

At multiple times during her dialog with Senator Blumenthal, Ms. Vetter displayed what is known as a Self-Righteous Head Wiggle.

A Self-Righteous Head Wiggle (SRHW) is a classic nonverbal display - characterized by a side-to-side movement of the head and neck. Usually, the movement is fairly rapid (high frequency) and of varying amplitude. Sometimes, it's extremely short in duration (almost a microexpression) and at other times it lasts longer.  Because this is a dynamic display - the viewer is strongly encouraged to watch the video, as the still images do not capture the motion and nuance of this nonverbal behavior.

The Self-Righteous Head Wiggle is typically displayed by individuals who are of relatively high-alpha personalities - but during moments of extra-high confidence and when they're expressing particularly strong opinions.

The SRHW can be thought of as a form of nonverbal swagger and often nonverbal arrogance.

Additionally, the SRHW will sometimes have a superimposed forward movement component when Arrogance and/or Condescension are simultaneous, e.g. during:

• 0:52 - 0:53, as Ms. Vitter says, "... and which I may disagree with ..."
1:19 - 1:20, as she says, "... my bosses' ..."

When additional Backward motion is displayed, there are feelings of Disgust, Contempt, and/or Disbelief being emoted, e.g., above displayed by Ms. Vitter during:

• 0:36, notated by the Ω symbol, just prior to saying, "... Senator ..."
• 1:15, notated by the symbol, just after she says, "... respectfully ... "
• 1:29, as she says, " ... this case ..."

Little or no additional forward or backward motion (only side-to-side movement) occurred during:

• 1:22 - 1:23, as she says, "... the Supreme Court ..."
• 1:31 - 1:33, when she says, "... I think we get into a slippery slope ..."

Another common feature of the SRHW is a temporary increase in pitch (vocal frequency), volume,  as well as speaking speed (e.g., words per second). This paralanguage/verbal language dynamic is simultaneous (or nearly so) the SRHW. A good example is seen here during 0:52 - 0:53, as Ms. Vitter says, "... and which I may disagree with ...".

Sometimes, there is often displayed a similar motion of the torso (as is seen to a mild degree in a few of these examples) or even the jaw.

You'll note that Ms. Vitter also closes her eyes during some of these SRHWs. In this context, this prolonged eyelid closure acts as an amplifier of her self-righteousness, contempt, and disgust.

Summary: Wendy Vitter is a nominee for U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Her nonverbal and paralanguage behavior in this hearing - indicates that she does NOT believe the 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education was correctly decided.

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See also:

Body Language Analysis No. 4261: President Trump's Address regarding the Retaliatory Strike on Syria

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

Body Language Analysis No. 4257: Mark Zuckerberg Testifies Before The Senate

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

Body Language Analysis No. 4251: Cristiano Ronaldo's Bicycle Kick vs. Juventus F.C.

Body Language Analysis No. 4232: Betsy DeVos' 60 Minutes Interview 

Body Language Analysis No. 4203: Mikaela Shiffrin and the R2E2 Expression

Body Language Analysis No. 4061: Pennywise,"IT", and Bill Skarsgård's Demonic Smile - Why is IT so Scary?

Body Language Analysis No. 4047: Joel Osteen, Houston, and Hurricane Harvey