Monday, September 11, 2023

Body Language Analysis No. 4718: Vivek Ramaswamy's — A common variation of a feigned/manipulative 'smile' — Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence


There are many variations of fake/feigned/social ‘smiles’. Vivek Ramaswamy frequently displays one of these in particularly telling.

During the above interview with Mehdi Hasan last week, Ramaswamy displayed this false and deceptive ‘smile’ multiple times. Note the above image, displaying an example captured during the 20:06 time maker in the following video:


Ramaswamy's bottom teeth are showing. When a sincere smile is being displayed, the lower teeth are almost always never visible. There are some exceptions however.

Bottom teeth may be visible during sincere smiles if:

• Crescendoing to or Decrescendoing from sincere laughter • You're taller than the other person (physical downward angle)
• Elevated camera angle (looking downward)
• The person is flexing/tilting their head/neck forward
• They have dental or jaw abnormalities

Vivek Ramaswamy is not laughing, nor is this suppressed laughter. However, this assumption does fool a lot of people and it's the core reason why this manipulative behavior often works. The camera angle is also level with his central face. Nor does Ramaswamy have any dental or jaw abnormalities.

Vivek Ramaswamy is also tilting his head/neck backward, not forward. Tilting one's head backward makes teeth even less visible — and this speaks to the extreme degree of the falseness of this expression.
Vivek Ramaswamy frequently tilts his head backward while listening or speaking. With the exception of a neck injury/problem or relatively rare ophthalmic abnormalities, this configuration indicates arrogance and condescending emotional tones.

Vivek Ramaswamy also juts his jaw forward — during his speech (when he's being particularly forceful in his opinion — which is often, and a sign of an adrenaline surge) — but also during these feigned smiles. 
During sincere smiling (or sincere laughing) the jaw moves in the *opposite direction* — it retracts backward, rather than projecting forward. Ramaswamy's jaw configuration is completely incongruent with sincere smiling (or any feelings of joy-happiness).

SUMMARY: This feigned smile of Vivek Ramaswamy is one of his common default expressions. But he's faking it. This is not a sincere smile. When we see this type displayed frequently, it's strongly correlated with manipulative individuals.

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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.