Monday, July 15, 2019

Body Language Analysis No. 4390: Mike Pence visits 'Detention Center' in McAllen, Texas - Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Vice President Pence briefly visited a migrant "Detention Center" in McAllen, Texas on Friday 12 July 2019. What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis of the above video of that event.

In our very first glance of Vice President Pence in this video (0:14), he is looking up - and maintains his upward gaze - well above the faces of the men in cages.

This complete lack of eye-contact in this scenario is profound - for it dramatically facilitates dehumanization. The tendency of a person to inflict suffering upon other human beings and animals is amplified by a lack of eye contact.

Conversely, eye contact during moments of pain and suffering engenders empathy and affection - affection even among people who have never met. Such eye contact dramatically builds rapport and feelings of connection which profoundly transcends any words.

The Vice President's facial expression is an amalgam of Contempt and Disgust.

Notice that Pence's head and neck are tilted backward. While this configuration is not a required component of either disgust or contempt - it does serve to amplify both of these emotions.

Another important component of Pence's body language here are his crossed arms. Note his right hand is largely hidden, with its fingers only partially exposed on his left bicep - while his left hand is mostly hidden. Notice too, that his upper arms are pulled more closely to his torso than is typical. This is not a loose arm cross. Pence is protecting himself from what he perceives to be a threat. His crossed arms projects the beta emotions of defensiveness (defensiveness-related anxiety), emotional discomfort, and low confidence. No leader should ever project these emotions — particularly in this context.

During the vast majority of this video, Pence's torso was oblique to it to the cage - a structure which serves as a surrogate for the men in toto (~45º to ~ 60º). Critically, although he twice twisted his torso parallel to the cage (0:16 - 0:18 and 0:45 - 0:46), by the Vice President's movements, his feet appear to have never been directly pointing at it. Human beings whole body point - and particularly point our feet - toward other people who we respect (and also toward those whom we like or find attractive). Pence's lack of body pointing in this context is further evidence of his nonacknowledgement of them as a group - and his feeling that they don't deserve respect.

Note the Male Officer in the green uniform. He's twisting/massaging/pulling at his left ring finger. This is a common significant indicator of anxiety.

Note Pence's disgust expression is more extreme in this next moment (0:21)

Senator Mike Lee, to Pence's left, is also looking over the heads of the men in cages - and while not a requirement of upward gaze, Lee's head is also tilted backward. He has an expression of both subtle contempt and subtle disgust.

The uniformed man in green has mild contempt expression together with frustration (presumably at the videographer). His fingers are interlaced with his thumbs steepled. In this context, his hand configuration is an amalgam of alpha-impatience and frustration.

Senator Lindsey Graham walks in the room and steps in between the Vice President and the encaged men. As he is doing so, he whole-body points toward who he considers to be his priority - Mike Pence (0:24).

Senator Graham continues to negotiate for positioning - maintaining his back towards the men - while his face and body point toward the Vice President (0:25).

Note also, his hands are in his front pants pockets. We hide our hands during beta moments of emotional discomfort.

The Vice President then, momentarily, uncrosses his arms, and while speaking to the officer in green, gestures with his palm down (0:27). Palm-down gestures are associated with alpha-emotional tones. These are used by individuals who are asserting dominant and often hyper-dominant mindsets. And crucially, a person using palm-down gestures has already decided what their course of action will be. There is virtually no chance of changing the mind of a person using palm-down gestures.

Note the direction of Pence's gaze - he's still not looking at the men. He's temporarily looking downward - as is the officer to whom he's speaking.

Senators Lindsey Graham and Mike Lee are also averting their gazes - but in the form of prolonged blinking. Their eyes are momentarily closed. At least a portion of their minds do not want to look at the suffering before them. They're both in states of cogitative-emotional dissonance.

Graham's hands are still in the pocketed and beta configured. His mouth projects regret. These are additional signals of cogitative-emotional dissonance.

Pence displays a clear expression for the thought-emotion of Contempt as he asks the office a question confirming that the facility ("you"), "... you don't have enough space?" (0:30).

Note that the context of "you" as Pence uses it here - the "Detention Center" - is instituted by the federal government - for which Pence is second in command. Pence is a crucial part of the "you" to which he refers.

In this next image, only Lindsey Graham is looking straight ahead (in primary gaze). Pence, Lee, and the officer are all looking in upward gaze - thus not into the eyes of the caged men (0:31).

A crucial detail here is that the heads and necks of each of the three American politicians are all tilted backward. This disgust amplifier is an indirect indication of the politicians "looking down their noses" at the caged men.

Pence continues his beta, defensive, protective, low confidence, emotional discomfort crossed-arm configuration. 

Pence proceeds to nod his head up-and-down while his facial expression conveys an amalgam of Anger and Disgust. Head nodding is extremely common default behavior for Vice President Pence.
This nodding behavior, while on its surface, would seem to be purely an acknowledgement and/or an agreement - with its excessive duration and context is a manifestation of Pence's adrenaline excess arising from his anxiety, emotional discomfort, a desire to look thoughtful - particularly while on camera.

Senator Lee's right index finger is digging into the pad of his right thumb as he simultaneously looks approximately 90º to his left. Senator Lee is profoundly emotionally uncomfortable. He's struggling to appear relevant - and yet, he very much wants to leave.

Lindsey Graham is feeling deep regret and shame during 0:36.

During 0:34 - 0:39, Pence lowers his arms and hands to his sides as he briefly looks out into the crowd of men in cages. His gaze is at a level consistent with their faces as he continues to nod his head up-and-down.

As he looks away, Pence continues to display contempt (0:46). Senator Lee continues his prolonged blinking - his psyche trying to block the suffering in front of him.

The officer of the facility elevates his forehead and eyebrows, while simultaneously making acknowledgment eye contact with the Secret Service agent. He motions with his right arm-hand as his left hand begins to elevate to Pence's back in order to direct the Vice President out of the room. It's highly likely that this officer, prior to Pence's entrance, was instructed to give him a very short description and get the Vice President back outside of the room.

Pence once again, defaults to his a disgust expression with his looking-down-his-nose/head and neck tilted backward posture (0:46).

Along with Senator Lee, Vice President Pence also manifesting his anxiety in a similar fashion - digging his right thumb into his right index finger (0:48).

While exhibiting the same anxiety dynamic with his left hand (0:50).

Pence exhibits continued contempt as he rotates to exit the room (0:50).

SUMMARY: Mike Pence's body language repeatedly displays contempt and disgust for these men in cages.

Although he is the second in command of the nation, the Vice President is defensive, has low confidence, high anxiety, and feels in need of protection.

It's of profound importance to note that Mike Pence had almost no eye contact with these men. Empathetic leaders would be engaging with them - looking them in their eyes, speaking with them, and even touching them. They would be acknowledged as human beings who are suffering.

Mike Pence is trying to feign empathy - he's making a token attempt at appearing thoughtful. However, the Vice President does not feel any empathy for these men. Rather he feels disgust and contempt toward them.

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See also:

Body Language Analysis No. 4389: Jeffrey Epstein's Default Expression

Body Language Analysis No. 4388: Donald Trump regarding Drowned Father and Daughter in the Rio Grande

Body Language Analysis No. 4387: Donald Trump Welcomes Foreign Interference in US Elections

Body Language Analysis No. 4386: Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump in Churchill's War Room

Body Language Analysis No. 4385: William Barr Testimony - Part II - Senate Judiciary Committee

Body Language Analysis No. 4384: William Barr's Testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on 1 May 2019 - Part I

Body Language Analysis No. 4299: Bill Clinton confronted regarding Monica Lewinsky Affair

Body Language Analysis No. 4298: LeBron James Walks Out of Post Game Press Conference after Game One Loss

Body Language Analysis No. 4295: Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos, and Red Flags