Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Body Language Analysis №4700: Donald Trump's Lisp of Fear (and other Tells) — Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence


As fear crescendos, we may see any number of multiple nonverbal tells. A cluster of behavior Donald Trump displays when he’s scared and feels backed in a corner includes:

• Tightening of his jaw
• Extending his jaw forward (mild jaw jut)
• Flaring his Lips outward (aka a Lip Curl)

Donald Trump also often Lips slightly when he’s frightened. Did you hear it?

It’s crucial to differentiate Trump’s Fear-Lisp from the separate and distinct phenomenon when he lisps on occasions when his oral prosthesis temporarily loosens.

Moreover, when he’s in a fear-state, Trump’s mouth doesn’t open as widely as it typically does as he’s speaking (a pattern commonly seen in people in low confidence, high emotional discomfort, and fearful emotional states).

The pitch of Trump’s voice also grows higher with his fear — along with the speed of his speech.

Trump’s eyes (eyelids) also open wider when he’s frightened (This is an expected and common fear response). It’s more prominent on his left, as Trump’s right upper eyelid is droopy (underlying ptosis).

Although his eyebrows are lowered, Trump’s central forehead muscles are contracted and elevated (partially obscured by his hair). This is also a configuration common with fear.

Simultaneously, another part of this fear cluster — Trump leans forwards (at his waist) and rounds/hunches his shoulders as his upper arms adduct (pull inward toward midline).

Trump exemplified this above-described behavior cluster multiple times during his interview on Fox News.

SUMMARY: During Donald Trump’s interview aired last night with Bret Baier, the former President displayed significant fear with both his body language and paralanguage (Lisp of Fear, increased speed, higher pitch).

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This post and others accompanying it, serve as a reference source for the art and science of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the author. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc., are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts.