Saturday, March 11, 2023

Body Language Analysis No. 4676: Mike Pence asked about taking Classified Documents from the White House

In November, Mike Pence gave an interview with ABC Journalist David Muir. In that interview, Muir asked Pence specifically if he took any classified documents from the White House.

What follows is a body language analysis — as well as a vocal and statement analysis of that portion of this interview (2:34 to 2:59 in above video link).

Transcript of this segment:
David Muir: "Let me ask you — as we sit here, in your home office, ah, ah [sic] in Indiana — Did you take any classified documents with you from the White House?"

Mike Pence: "Ahhh [short pause] ah, I, I did not [long pause] ummm ..."

Muir: "Do you see any reason for anyone to take classified documents with them — leaving the White House?"

Pence: "[deep inhale] Well there'd be no reason to have [short pause] classified documents, particularly if they were in an unprotected area."
*All descriptions are described below the corresponding images*


Note that at the very beginning of this 25 second segment , Mike Pence is Manspreading (sitting with his legs spread wide) to a significant degree. 
Taken alone, manspreading display is a hyper-dominant behavior that's also an attempt at hyper-masculinity display as well (as well as sometimes sexual attraction) — however, we're not interpreting this body language in isolation.

Simultaneously, with his manspreading, Pence's fingers are intertwined. Depending on the other nonverbals with which they're accompanied, intertwined fingers indicates anxiety, frustration, and sometimes anger.
People who perceive themselves as 'leaders', often pose with their fingers intertwined because they *falsely* believe this makes them appear patient, wise, and authoritative. They're wrong.
What's considerably more telling about Pence's hands is the position of them relative to the rest of his body — they're covering his groin in a Modified Fig Leaf configuration (aka Genital Guarding).
A Fig Leaf configuration indicates significantly low confidence, low emotional comfort, a psychological need for protection — and also at least some element of fear. Pence is afraid in his own home — dwell on that for a moment.

Now look closer at Pence's left leg. Note the angle at which his left knee is bent (flexed). This necessitates his left heel being elevated while his left toes are touching the floor. 
Due to the chyron and the low lighting, we cannot see Pence's left foot, however, with high probability, is at least partially wrapped around the leg of the chair.

His upper leg angled outward (abducting), left knee flexed, and left ankle-toe probably at least partially wrapping around the leg of the chair. This is a nonverbal signal of significant anxiety — particularly in one's own home.

Pence's right foot is relatively opposite — it's placed forward with his toes elevated (shadow of shoe also clearly visible) while his heel is touching the floor.
Note how he is tapping his foot (heel touching, toes bouncing) throughout much of this segment. Pence's foot tapping indicates an adrenaline surge — but more specifically, in this full context, anxiety — and possible fear.

This left leg-right leg disparity (especially when in one's own home) is clearly indicative of a person, whose mental-emotional tone does not want to be there answering questions to any journalist. Moreover, it indicates low emotional comfort, and low confidence.

Part of Pence's psyche feels confident (ergo Man-spreading), while part of his psyche feels low confidence and low emotional comfort (Left vs Right Leg Dynamics, Intertwined fingers, Fig-leaf/Genital Guarding variant).

These two simultaneous yet competing dynamics are a good example of a nonverbal display of Cognitive-Emotional Dissonance.

After Muir asks Pence, "Did you take any classified documents with you from the White House?", Pence responds, "Ahhh [short pause] ah, I, I did not [long pause] ummm ...",


Note that Pence first looks down to his right (more on this later), then shakes his head side-to-side (a nonverbal "No") but then changes to an up-and-down head nodding (a nonverbal "Yes"). *Please watch the video to observe this behavior, as it's impossible to capture the subtly with images*
This change from side-to-side to up-and-down is profound. It screams deception. Pence's head nodding up-and-down ("Yes") nonverbal display is contradicting his verbal answer ("I did not").
Whenever the body language contradicts the spoken language, it's the body language that's telling the truth.

Another detail — watch and listen carefully, Pence also inhales deeply (2:44 - 2:47) as he nods his head up and down (increased anxiety).
Notice as soon as Muir asks this question (as Pence says, "Ahhh [short pause] ah, I, I" — AND at the end of his answer as he says, "ummm", he again looks down and to his right (2:47).

People *tend to* often look down to the right during moments of guilt (both culpability-guilt and remorse-guilt), sadness, and deception. 

Notice also, Pence's "Ahhh", — and "ah, I " — and "ummm" during this short answer. Without even taking into account the syllable stretching of the "Ahhh" and "ummm" (signals of stalling and anxiety" these amount to 4 syllables — whereas, "I did not" amounts to 3 syllables.

Pence's stalling and stuttering-syllables outnumber his answer-syllables. This 4 to 3 syllable disparity in a 7 syllable sentence/answer is more than conspicuous — it screams deception

We all tend to stutter with increased anxiety — and all anxiety does not equal deception. However, there's a correlation in non-stutters who stutter — with deception.
Pence doesn't have any history of stuttering — and why would he have anxiety if he was innocent — and again, in his own home?

Also notice Pence's use of the non-contraction, "I did not" rather than "I didn't" or "No". Non-contractions are more common during deceptions whereas contractions are more common when truths are spoken.

Now go back a few seconds — Pence also displays a feigned-pout/feigned-consideration (FP/FC) expression — during his side-to-side head shake (during 2:43), (immediately after the first syllable ["Ahhh"] of his verbal answer).

Feigned-pout/Feigned-consideration expressions are highly-correlative with deception in the moment — and, when seen frequently, an overall arrogant and insincere personality.

In the next instant (during 2:44-2:47), Pence displays a subtle, suppressed smile — simultaneous with his up-and-down (yes) head nod. This is consistent with Duping Delight.

Duping Delight is a name given to the smile which often is displayed when the liar takes joy-happiness in their belief that they have successfully perpetrated a lie.

Immediately after his "I did not" answer, Pence again looks down to his right, and says, "ummm" — but David Muir immediately asks another question. Why did David Muir rescue Mike Pence? Muir wasn't listening to Pence nor watching his body language. Muir was not fully present in this moment — he was concentrating too much about asking his next question. Muir was not listening (or he ignored Pence's obvious anxiety). To interviewers (or interrogators) everywhere: These dead air times are *exactly* when let it hang there. Let them squirm. Let them feel their emotional discomfort. You and your listeners/readers will learn much more.

Next, Muir asks, "Do you see any reason for *anyone* to take classified documents with them — leaving the White House?"

Pence answers, "[deep inhalation] Well there'd be no reason to have [short pause] classified documents, particularly if they were in an unprotected area."

Note Pence's response wasn't a definitive answer — (i.e., "No.", "Absolutely not.", etc.). Instead Pence essentially just repeated Muir's question back to him in the form of an answer. This specific verbal technique is an extremely common tactic of manipulative personalities.

Moreover, Pence's adverbial clause, "...particularly if they were in an unprotected area", serves as a psychological buffer/rationalizing technique (i.e., Oh, I thought my home was a protected area).

Muir's use of, "Do you see any reason", connotes latitude of judgment — as if Pence's prior position of power somehow supersedes legality or ethics.

Thus an objective/non-rationalizing answer would be, "It doesn't matter the reason any person would give, such an act is illegal."

Note also, Pence begins with the word, "Well" — a word commonly used when rationalizing, softening one's response, and/or stalling for time. Even a split second or two gives the speaker additional time to come up with an answer that they believe to be reasonable.

The deep inhalation, just prior to saying, "Well" is also a strong indicator of Pence's anxiety.

As soon as Pence begins to answer this second question, his hands (right [dominant] hand more than left) momentarily reconfigure from an intertwined fig leaf configuration — pulling the bottom of his suit jacket downward (2:53-2:55).

This is an additional fig leaf variant nonverbal display — a Fig Leaf on top of a Fig Leaf. It's a profound tell of how such a question makes Pence think-feel (emotional discomfort, low confidence, the need for protection, fear — again, in his own home). Red lights flashing, sirens blaring.

Note too, that his right hand was playing more of a role in this jacket pull, double fig leaf variation — indicating a greater need for protection (versus if his left hand had been the primary protector).

Pence also momentarily leans forward in his chair whilst shifting back-and-forth in his chair. He even elevates his butt a bit off of the chair.
Chair squirming/butt lifting is a secondary to tension/contractions of: the rectal sphincter, the dartos muscle and the cremasteric muscle (muscles of surface of scrotum), pelvic floor muscles, & gluteal muscles — and is an extremely reliable indicator of significant anxiety.

Another indicator of anxiety and a "bleeder" of elevated adrenaline is Pence's simultaneous foot tapping and partial leg contraction as he answers this question (Chyron partially obstructs his foot).

Did you notice Pence's Feigned Pout/Feigned Consideration expression — simultaneous with a bilateral shoulder-shrug during the 2:56 mark? (highly-correlative with deception in the moment — and, when seen frequently, an overall arrogant and insincere personality).

SUMMARY: Since this interview was released, Pence was shown to be in the possession of multiple classified White House documents.
Pence's body language, verbal language, and paralanguage in this short video are classic indicators that he was in full knowledge of his guilt when he gave this interview. Mike Pence was lying.
All professionals interested in learning #BodyLanguage, please email ( or DM me — esp. judges, attorneys, directors, actors, C-level executives, sales professionals, teachers, parents, those in crisis management, and health care professionals.