Monday, September 9, 2019

Body Language Analysis No. 4395: Mike Pompeo - "Just the Past Ten Days Alone, We've Killed Over a Thousand Taliban" - Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

On Saturday afternoon, less than four days before the 18th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks, President Trump, via Twitter, told the world he had called-off what had been, up until that time, a clandestine plan for negotiating with the Taliban at Camp David. The next morning, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo made the rounds on the Sunday morning political TV talk shows. What follows is a partial nonverbal and paralanguage analysis of a crucial portion of one of those interviews.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (continuing at 2:02): "But there have been periodic 'tacks [sic] throughout the talks. Why pull the plug after this one? In the past, when there have been attacks, you've said, 'that was a reason to continue the talks'."

MIKE POMPEO (continuing at 2:10): "Yeah. It, it's, it's true. There have been attacks during the talks. Ah, attacks from the Taliban on Americans - ah, and eNORmous attacks from American forces, putting en- [stammer] REAL pressure on the Taliban. George we've [inhale, pause] 'n just the last ten days alone, killed over a thousand Taliban."

Note that Pompeo is stuttering as he begins his answer, saying, "Yeah. It, it's, it's true". In the very next sentence, he also stammers as he begins to re-use the word "enormous" and, instead, changes to the world "real". On its surface, these paralanguage behaviors signal significant anxiety.

Moreover, Pompeo feels the need to emphasize, both in volume and in tone, the words, "eNORmous" as well as "REAL". This verbal/paralanguage pattern is over-compensatory.

As Stephanopoulos asks his question, we see Pompeo inhale deeply. At the same time, he subtly nods his head up-and-down in a 'Yes' gesture. He also tilts his head backward - as his midface muscles tighten. This is particularly noteworthy in his 'mustache area' along with the flaring of his nostrils.

This nonverbal cluster demonstrates a classic example of cognitive-emotional dissonance - for while he is nodding his head in agreement with Stephanopoulos, he's also displaying strong disgust for him and/or his question.

Immediately after Pompeo says, "George we've", he, once again, inhales deeply and pauses. He then immediately closes his eyelids.

Closing one's eyes for longer durations (which is subtle but highly significant) - along with increased blinking and rapid blinking are varieties of decreased eye contact. These are examples of Distancing Behavior.

As Pompeo says, "... 'n just the ...", he begins to shake his head in a side-to-side motion - which, of course (in the overwhelming majority of cultures throughout the world), is a nonverbal signal of 'No'. Whenever the verbal message contradicts the simultaneous nonverbal signal - it's the nonverbal communication which is telling the truth.

Pompeo then rapidly blinks as he looks briefly down to his right as he says, "ten days". This is the quadrant to which human beings overwhelmingly look when feeling guilt (both remorse-guilt as well as culpability-guilt).

His accompanying extremely rapid blinking is, on its surface, associated with significant anxiety.

SUMMARY: Mike Pompeo's behavior in this segment of this interview exhibited the following rapid sequence of behaviors:

1. Anxiety
2. Overcompensation
3. Cognitive-Emotional Dissonance
4. Disgust
5. Contradiction (Verbal and Nonverbal Disparity)
6. Distancing behavior
7. Guilt (most probably, culpability-guilt)

While no single nonverbal or paralanguage signal - when viewed in isolation - is 100% indicative of deception, Mike Pompeo's rapid series of behaviors in this short segment of this interview, taken in toto, with high probability, indicates he's lying when he says, "George we've - 'n just the last ten days alone, killed over a thousand Taliban."

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See also:

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