Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Body Language Analysis №4682: Donald Trump arraignment — Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (PHOTOS)


Today, Donald Trump, former President of the United States, was arrested and arraigned in Manhattan. There were no video cameras allowed inside the courtroom. What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis of one of the published images.

Trump pleaded not guilty to all 34 felony counts against him for falsifying business records.

Analyses appear below of each of the following corresponding images.

This image (photo credit: Seth Wenig/AP) shows Donald Trump with members of his legal team in a Manhattan courtroom today.

One particular nonverbal behavior that should jump out at you is that Trump has his hands beneath the table. This makes a stark contrast against the image of all his attorneys with their hands above the table.

This behavior shows Trump’s belief in his own legal guilt/culpability guilt (it’s important to differentiate here between culpability-guilt and remorse-guilt. And while these thought-emotions may coexist in the same individual, these are completely different phenomena).

If Trump believed he was innocent, with very high probability, he would not have his hands beneath the table, but on top of the table.

Moreover, if Trump believed he was innocent, with very high probability, he would be sitting forward on his chair — with his buttocks away from the back of the chair — and additionally, with his back straight — leaning forward — toward the judge.

Instead, Trump sits with his shoulders and back hunched forward (no doubt he has some age-related kyphosis, however his posture in this moment is largely behavioral) which correlates strongly with sadness, low assertiveness, low confidence, emotional discomfort, disengagement, and culpability-guilt (Trump demonstrates no remorse-guilt).

In a close-up, cropped image of above, (photo credit: Seth Wenig AP), Trump’s expression in this moment displays an amalgam of Contempt and Disgust.

Although not a required component of the expression of Contempt or Disgust, Trump’s partial upper eyelid closure serves to amplify these emotional displays.

Despite his Botox treatments, we can see that Trump’s forehead muscles are contracted — probably across the forehead’s entire width (although it’s difficult to discern from this angle).

We tend not to turn fully toward a person at whom we’re looking when we don’t like them, don’t respect them, and/or don’t believe them. Instead, we partially turn our head/neck — glancing laterally (while keeping our torso unturned) — which is exactly what Trump is doing here.

In this next close-up (Photo Credit: Andrew Kelly/Reuters), we can see Trump displaying an amalgam of Anger and Disgust (Disgust when displayed toward another person[s] essentially always has accompanying anger).

Note the partial closure and tension in Trump’s lower eyelids. Mild-to-moderate anger will result in partial eyelid closure.

This next image is particularly telling. Note Trump’s Jaw Mandible (Jaw) retraction (it’s pulling inward) — as simultaneously he’s displaying a Loose Tongue Jut. (Photo Credit: CNN)

A Loose Tongue Jut projects the thought-emotions of “I’ve done/about to do something stupid”, “I’ve been bad/about to do something bad”, “I’ve been/about to be caught” — and Deception.

(Be careful not to confuse a Loose Tongue Jut with a Wide Open Tongue Jut or a Tight Tongue Jut — for they indicate entirely different thought-emotions).

Trump’s Mandible (Jaw) retraction, in this facial expression and body posture context, indicates fear and culpability-guilt (Trump demonstrates no remorse-guilt).

Compare this next moment (Photo Credit: Andrew Kelly/Reuters), and particularly his jaw position, with the previous image and jaw position. Note the relatively neutral position in most of Trump’s face — and his jaw.

SUMMARY: Donald Trump displayed a variability of emotions during his arraignment on 34 Felony counts today in Manhattan — including sadness, low assertiveness, low confidence, emotional discomfort, low engagement, anger, contempt, disgust, fear, and culpability-guilt.

Interested in learning #BodyLanguage and using it to improve your #EmotionalIntelligence, personal life, and professional life? Please email me (Jack@BodyLanguageSuccess.com), esp. judges, attorneys, directors, actors, crisis management, C-level executives, sales, parents, teachers, health care professionals…