Monday, October 7, 2019

Body Language Analysis No. 4398: Mohammed bin Salman regarding the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi ("60 Minutes" Interview) — Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)



Last week on 60 Minutes, Mohammed bin Salman was interviewed by Norah O'Donnell. What follows is a crucial portion of that interview evaluated in detail with nonverbal, verbal, and paralanguage analysis. 

NORAH O'DONNELL: Did you order the murder of Jamal Khashoggi?

MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN: Absolutely [drawn-out], ah-um — [pause] — not.


Immediately after Ms. O'Donnell asks the question, "Did you order the murder of Jamal Khashoggi?" — when the camera switches to him, Mohammed bin Salman does not have eye contact with her or the camera. He's looking down. More specifically, he's looking down to his left. This is the quadrant to which most people look when they're formulating an answer.

Why does the Saudi Prince have to think about this simple question regarding such an important matter? There should be no thinking. There should be no planning of sentences or syntax.

Mohammed bin Salman's lack of eye contact here is profoundly telling and cannot be over-emphasized. When being asked a direct question, particularly a yes-or-no question, the presence of (and nuance of) eye contact is the most crucial component when separating truth from deception. While, importantly, eye-contact is not expected to be constant or staring — during this crucial portion of his answer, his lack of eye contact screams deception. 

The Crown Prince also shakes his head side-to-side (No) as he takes in a deep breath. Mohammed bin Salman then holds that breath in a Valsalva-type variation — thus exerting elevated intrathoracic pressure. In this context, this physiology indicates significantly elevated anxiety and it's highly indicative of deception.


Mohammed bid Salman then blinks twice within a second — the latter being of longer duration and a deeper blink (complete eyelid closure). Two seconds later he again begins rapid blinking.


The Saudi Prince then hand-shrugs with his right thumb pointing up. The camera angle did not permit a view of his left hand. This particular thumbs-up illustrator is an example of a Partial Emblematic Slip. In detail, an Emblem is a universally recognized nonverbal signal (A thumbs-up dynamic is a universally recognized gesture of approval). It's Partial, because it's not presented in a fully-expressed manner, but rather in a lower-height and short-duration mode. And, it's a Slip, because it's a tell — or leakage of feelings he truly has, yet is trying to suppress — it slips out.

Mohammed bin Salman, despite his extensive coaching and preparation for this interview, let his true thought-emotions slip in this split second — via his thumb. His body language is saying, "Yes, I did". Intriguingly, this affirmation signal comes just prior to him saying the word, "Absolutely".


During the last portion of the word, "Absolutely" — as well as during his "ah-um" and also during his pause, Mohammed bin Salman can be seen displaying a suppressed smile. This is an example of what is known as Duping Delight (Ekman). It signals that the speaker is feeling true joy-happiness in his belief that he has fooled his audience.

It's important to note that, that what action delight the perpetrator, may very well not delight onlookers (as is the case here, of course). Moreover, those displaying duping delight may not be as convincing in their camouflage of deception as they believe.

Can you imagine being innocent of committing a murder or ordering that murder and having even an iota of a smile on your face in your denial? Smiling out-of-context is always a telling red flag.


After his stutter/ah-um and his pause, Mohammed bid Salman then says the word, "No". As he speaks it, his forehead and eyebrows elevate, while his eyelids simultaneously move downward subtly. The opposing directional dynamic of these two closely juxtaposed facial tissues — as he is denying (saying the word "No") is highly correlative with lying.

A monumentally important tell is displayed toward the end of the pause, and when he is saying, "No" — The Crown Prince stops his side-to-side head movement and thrusts his head and neck forward. When his words are saying, "No", his body language ceases to agree. This nonverbal-verbal disparity dynamic is a blaring siren of deception.


He then avoids eye contact again looking down to his left —


— and exhibits additional rapidly blinking.

The Crown Prince's choice of words here are also quite noteworthy. His first word, upon being asked this question, should not be one of affirmation — rather it should be that of negation.

He also draws out the word, "Absolutely". Moreover, he inserts an "ah" immediately followed by a brief "um", and a long pause prior to saying, "No".

Why would an innocent person need to pause before saying, "No"?

In full, he answers, "Absolutely [drawn out] ah-um [pause] not".

Of course, the translator did not insert these critical paralanguage (statement analysis) details as he translated, and his omission completely changes the meaning. You don't have to speak Arabic — or even watch the video, you can simply listen — the Saudi Prince did not speak with conviction or confidence.

SUMMARY: Mohammed bin Salman's nonverbal, verbal, and paralanguage behavior during this crucial portion of this interview indicates that, with extremely high probability, he did order the killing of Washington Post journalist and US resident, Jamal Khashoggi.


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See also:

Body Language Analysis No. 4397: Donald Trump Defends Himself Against The Whistleblower

Body Language Analysis No. 4396: Brett Kavanaugh's Confirmation Hearing — Reading Between the Lines

Body Language Analysis No. 4395: Mike Pompeo - "Just the Past Ten Days Alone, We've Killed Over a Thousand Taliban"

Body Language Analysis No. 4394: Donald Trump, "I am The Chosen One"

Body Language Analysis No. 4393: El Paso Mass Shooter - Using Body Language as a Threat Assessment Tool

Body Language Analysis No. 4392: The Secret Tells behind Donald Trump's Statement, "No Puppet. No Puppet. You're the Puppet"

Body Language Analysis No. 4364: Vladimir Putin's and Mohammed bin Salman's High Five at the G20

Body Language Analysis No. 4316: Sarah Paulson, The Met Gala, and Madonna

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


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