Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Body Language and Behavior Analysis No. 4745: Donald Trump Departing the Courthouse as the Jury Begins Their Deliberation – Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence


Today, as the Jury was about to begin their deliberation, Donald Trump and his entourage left the courthouse. What follows is a body language analysis of the brief video included above.

Not only did Donald Trump not make any comments to the cameras and awaiting journalists – but he did not even make eye contact:

In this context, Trump's lack of eye contact is highly significant for Trump feeling guilty (crucially, Trump is feeling legal-culpability guilt, NOT shame-guilt and NOT remorse-guilt).

Trump then makes a pseudo fist-pump gesture. Note the motion of his fist is twice side-to-side, not upward (as it would be for defiance, black power, solidarity, or fighting Fascism, etc.):

The motion of Trump's arm-hand is also quicker on the out-stroke (abduction), and slower on the in-stroke (adduction) (as if he's pounding a wall). His fist never rises above the height of his ear. 

The former game show host often gestures in this manner in public. It's a Trumpian perfunctory. He often makes this gesture with both hands – but not here. Why? ... He has low confidence. It's a performance, albeit less so than usual.

Note also, Trump is using only his left hand with this pseudo fist-pump ... but Trump's right-hand dominant. If he had true conviction of his claimed beliefs of power, solidarity, or defiance – Trump would use his dominant hand, but that's not what he's feeling.

Lastly look carefully as Trump walks through the doorway. Immediately after he exits, he turns to his left and lowers his head fairly dramatically. Also, Trump's already-slouched shoulders droop even further:

It's crucial to contrast that behavior which is driven by a greater conscious component (his pseudo fist-pump) with those that have almost no conscious component (Trump's head and shoulder drooping). 

When assessing body language behaviors – if at first glance, there appears to be a contradiction, the behavior that's unconsciously-driven should be given much more diagnostic weight over that which is consciously conducted (performed).

SUMMARY: Upon exiting the courtroom today, at the commencement of the Jury's deliberation, Donald Trump could not even look at the camera or the press pool. He exhibited body language indicative of low energy, low confidence, and significant culpability-guilt.

Crucially, Donald Trump's body language tells us that he believes he's soon going to be a convicted felon.

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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Body Language and Behavior Analysis No. 4744: Kaitlan Collins asks Ted Cruz if he'll Accept the Results of the 2024 Election – Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence


Two days ago, Senator Ted Cruz was asked by Kaitlyn Collins if he'll accept the results of the 2024 presidential election. What follows is a brief clip of that interview and an oft overlooked body language tell. 
Specifically, Kaitlan Collins asks, "In 2024, will you certify the election results? Do you plan to object or will you accept the results regardless of who wins the election?"

Ted Cruz answers, "So Kaitlin, I gotta say, I, I think that's actually a, a ridiculous question" – Collins pushes back with, "It's a yes or no question"...

Cruz responds, "I, n, no, it's not. N, le, le, let me explain why it's a ridiculous question. It's not a question – 'ave you ever asked Democrat that?" Collin answers, "Of course." 

Note Ted Cruz's double-handed gesture – with his fingers and thumbs intertwined except for the two index fingers (forefingers) flexor surfaces touching, and extended in a forward point: 

This is called a "Pistol Steeple" for two reasons – not only because it physically resembles a handgun (a visual metaphor), but also because it signifies an effort to 'shoot down' the idea/logic/explanation of the other person:

Whenever a pistol steeple is used, you know the person already has their mind made up – and that they're going to vehemently oppose you/your reasoning/your answer. Their mind is not only closed, but they're on the offensive. 

It's important to note that sometimes you'll see a pistol steeple being displayed, but the person isn't voicing any (or perhaps just a little) disagreement. ...

... In such cases, the pistol steeple is a sign of clandestine disagreement. You can indeed be sure that they're thinking-feeling considerable criticisms – they're just holding them back. Watch your flank!

Did you notice the contempt that Cruz displays toward Collins (on *his* left). It looks like what many people would call a 'snarl'. It's a bit difficult to see because of the angle of the camera and his facial hair, but Cruz is expressing considerable contempt here:

Notice also Cruz's multiple stutterings (Cruz is a non-stutterer), omission and truncation of words. He also immediately starts in on his explanation, but then stops, self-interrupting – asking Collins about her asking a Democrat that same question (whataboutism). 

Moreover, like many manipulative people – particularly people in power – Cruz criticizes the question – turning it into an admonishment of the questioner. This is always a red flag. 

Cruz and people with similar personalities will criticize you and bully you – trying to make you feel stupid – in public or in private – in an effort to get you to back down and prevent similar queries from others in the future. 

SUMMARY: The Pistol Steeple shows his desire to 'shoot down' another person's opinions, inquiries, ideas, or plans and go on the offensive. Cruz not only displays these thought-feelings toward Collins, but he also displays contempt toward her.

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Friday, May 24, 2024

Body Language and Behavior Analysis No. 4743: Donald Trump re Judge Merchan: "He's complicated and conflicted" – Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence


During his hallway comments on Tuesday 21 May 2024, Donald Trump said, "We have a judge that's extremely, [pause] ahhh, let's say complicated. But let's also say conflicted. He's complicated and conflicted. ..."

Trump continues, ..."And, ahhh [pause] it's a very strange situation. Nobody's ever seen anything quite like it."

Trump continues to try to besmirch and intimidate Judge Juan Merchan – who's presiding in the Republican candidate for president's Felony Trial for Election Interference. Of course, this was also another Trump campaign speech.

Of particular note, as Trump says, "Ahhh, let's say complicated", we see the following dynamics of rage expressed on his face:

• Extreme tightening of region below the nose and above upper lip
• Thinning of lips
• Flaring nostrils
• Extreme Forward Trust of Jaw

Simultaneously, we also see:

• Deepening of the vertical furrows between his eyebrows (anger)
• Contempt (right side of Trump's face [*his* right]):

Watch closely a loop of this brief clip for emphasis. Be sure to observe each of the above-mentioned facial movements/behaviors:


His jaw thrusts forward to a lesser degree as Trump says, "complicated and conflicted" – and again just prior to him saying, "It's a very strange situation":



As Trump says, "... but let's also say conflicted..." his torso moves laterally (side-to-side). This is a signal of self-righteousness:


Notice too, as Trump says, "Nobody's ever seen anything quite like it", he is elevating on his toes (watch his shoulders). This is another signal of an adrenaline surge and, in this context, a sign Trump feels quite braggadocio when making this statement.


SUMMARY: In this brief video where Donald Trump calls Judge Merchan, complicated and conflicted, we see Trump's anger crescendo momentarily to rage. Trump also exhibits contempt toward Judge Merchan. Additionally, Trump displays self-righteousness and braggadocio.

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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Body Language and Behavior Analysis No. 4742: Matt Gaetz at Donald Trump's Trial – Violations of Trump's gag order by proxy – Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence


Along with Matt Geatz (FL) – Representatives Andy Biggs (AZ), Mike Waltz (FL), Eli Crane (AZ), Andy Ogles (TN), Anna Paulina Luna (FL), Ralph Norman (SC), Bob Good (VA), and Lauren Boebert (CO) all showed up in NYC to support Trump at his Felony Election Interference Trial.

What follows is a partial body language analysis of the following video clip concentrating primarily on Matt Gaetz – and one crucial, but often overlooked nonverbal behavior:


Note that the great majority of Gaetz's gestures were made solely with *his Left* hand. Including and particularly when he says, "... of our own volition ..." 

"... that President Trump is unjustly not allowed to say ..."

"...This is a corrupt judge ..."

"... This is a corrupt prosecution ..."

"... and so we're going to keep speaking out against this ..."

"... these undemocratic ..."

Although Gaetz does gesture with both arms/hands as well as some with his right arm/hand, the vast majority were made with his left hand/arm.

But Matt Gaetz is clearly right-handed!

Here's a pic of Gaetz throwing out a first pitch from 2017: 
When a person doesn't believe what they're saying (and when they don't have the courage that they're feigning with their verbal language) – they're much more likely to gesture with their non-dominant hand (as Gaetz did in front of the courthouse, with *his* left hand).

In addition, of all 6 times Gaetz gestures only w/ his left hand/arm in this crucial video clip, when Gaetz says, "We're here of our own volition" – he lifts his hand the least. This relativity/nuance is further indication of Gaetz's lack of belief in his own statement.

Moreover, just prior to Gaetz saying, "... This is a corrupt prosecution ...", Gaetz begins to gesture with his right hand/arm – but he stops, rests it at his side, and proceeds to gesture with his left (non-dominant) hand/arm.

Did you also notice how many of Gaetz's fellow congressional members (AWAL from their jobs) were standing with their hands in the fig-leaf position? 

The fig-leaf stance (aka "genital guarding") is a position adopted (the vast majority of times, subconsciously) in 2 primary scenarios:

A. During the display of deference and/or respect (i.e., standing next to a major religious figure, at a funeral, etc) and ...

B.  Fig Leaf (aka genital guarding) is also displayed during times of:

• Low-Confidence
• Emotional Discomfort
• Need for Emotional Protection

SUMMARY: Matt Gaetz told multiple lies this week when he appeared in NYC at Donald Trump's Felony trial for Election Interference. Crucially and specifically, Gaetz lied when he said, "We're here of our own volition."
Despite their attempts at bravado and hubris, Gaetz and his Republican cohort have low confidence, emotional discomfort, and a need for protection. They felt vulnerable. 

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Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Body Language and Behavior Analysis No. 4741: Todd Blanche's reaction to Donald Trump falsely claiming that he can't testify because of his gag order – Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence


On Day 11 of Trump's Election interference trial, Judge Merchan told Donald Trump, "The [gag] order restricting extrajudicial statements does not prevent you from testifying in any way."

Judge Merchan's statement was in response to what happened the previous day (Day 10) after court, Donald Trump falsely claimed that he can't testify because of his gag order.

Todd Blanche then agreed with him – both verbally and to the casual observer nonverbally too... But upon closer inspection of Blanche's body language, there's much more revealed ...
Note Trump said, "Well, I'm not allowed to testify. I'm under a gag order [turns to Todd Blanche]. I guess, right? I can't even testify at all." Blanche then answers, "Yeah" [followed by a pause and a few more inaudible words].

At the 0:03 second mark in the above video (as Trump begins answering), Blanche looks at Trump displaying a false/insincere ("say cheese") smile:

As the ridiculousness of Trump's answer sets in, at 0:04 second mark, Blanche tilts his head to his right as he elevates the entire width of his forehead along with an evanescent elevation of both eyebrows (an eyebrow flash) & closes his eyelids w/ a suppressed smile:
He displays contempt as he looks down and to his right (guilt [both culpability guilt and shame guilt] and possible deception), (0:06):
This grouping of body language behaviors is an excellent example of what is termed a "cluster" – a nonverbal sentence. 

Blanche's body language cluster is quite literally saying, "Oh yeah? Ya think so? Well we'll see how *that* will work out for ya. You're completely wrong. You have no idea what you're talking about."

 Note also that Todd Blanche is subtly shaking his head side-to-side ("No") during 0:04 – 0:06. 

Then, when Trump turns toward Blanche, asking, "I guess?" to Blanche, his attorney exhibits another body language cluster, ...
... First turning his head toward Trump (while closing his eyelids)
... then shaking his head up-and-down (agreeing with Trump),
... then side-to-side (in disagreement again)
... then up-and-down (once again, agreeing with Trump) 
Blanche also displays a classic feigned contemplative pout after he says, "Yeah" (yet while he's shaking his head, "yes, no, yes"). He says something else after this multi-directional head shake, that is not audible to the microphone. 
This nonverbal contradiction (1st shaking head in disagreement, then shaking head in agreement, then again in disagreement, and again in agreement), (with his false contemplative pout) is an excellent example of a body language cognitive-emotional dissonance cluster.
Todd Blanche knows he must "perform" for his client, yet by agreeing with Trump's lie on camera, it would seem Blanche also lied.
Note also, Blanche closes both eyelids for an extended duration, first during 0:03...
...Blanche then closes his eyes for a lengthier time during 0:04 ... 
...and Blanche closes his eyes for an even longer duration 0:06 - 0:07 (as he lies, nods his head, [yes, no, then yes again] and says, "Yeah"):
Extended eyelid closures in this context have a high correlation with deception and regret.

Todd Blanche also closes his eyelids in long-duration yet again during 0:09 as he looks down again, tilting his head/neck again in culpability-guilt and shame-guilt. 
His mouth displays a simultaneous jaw jut (adrenaline surge), an expression of regret, and attempt at suppression (inward lip roll). 

Blanche also displays a hard swallow (anxiety) just after Trump says, "We're going to be appealing the gag order".
When he looks back up, Blanche's eyes are opened wider than baseline with a diminished blink rate (further sign of his increased adrenaline). 
SUMMARY: It's difficult to interpret it any other way – Todd Blanche, one of Donald Trump's attorneys, appeared to lie to him (and to the public) on camera. Blanche knew he was lying when he said, "Yeah" – displaying significant cognitive-emotional dissonance.
No truthful or competent attorney would answer, "Yeah" in the context of Trump's question, "Well, I'm not allowed to testify. I'm under a gag order [turns to Todd Blanche]. I guess, right? I can't even testify."

Blanche may claim that whatever he mumbled to Trump after saying "Yeah" put his agreement in proper context for Trump (i.e., "Yeah you have a gag order, but that doesn't apply to any possible testimony"), but Blanche's body language screams that he knew he told a lie.

Along with highly significant cognitive-emotional dissonance, Blanche was performing for his client, on camera, outside the courtroom.

Blanche's agreement here, on camera, is fuel for Trump's campaign and his disinformation.

Blanche also displayed body language indicative of significant contempt, impatience, and patronizing feelings toward Donald Trump (more cognitive-emotional dissonance).

Moreover, Blanche displayed adrenaline surges, culpability-guilt, shame-guilt, anxiety, and regret.
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Thursday, May 2, 2024

Body Language and Behavior Analysis No. 4740: Donald Trump's Puffer Fish Face – Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence


The above image of Donald Trump was taken as he was heading back into the courtroom yesterday after a break during his felony election interference trial.

Here's another slightly different image taken a second or two later:
Of course, everyone knows that Donald Trump is stressed. That's certainly no secret. But here's the Rub: to note similar times when someone who you like and trust – exhibits similar nonverbal behavior (i.e., in everyday scenarios).

As with all human beings, we constantly fall victim to our confirmation bias. Would most people be able to accurately interpret this behavior if instead the person exhibiting it was someone we felt relatively neutral toward – or even someone for whom we cared deeply?

Would we be then able to spot a lie? The insincerity? Manipulation? The Answer: Most of the time an otherwise socially adept person would not be able to see these behaviors in these alternative scenarios. Body Language skills are irreplaceable tools of objectivity.

Trump's expression displayed here is known as the "Puffer Fish". As with the vast, vast majority of body language, it's initiated and occurs subconsciously. It's almost exclusively seen just immediately prior to or immediately following a stressful event. 

I've seen quintessential examples of this behavior in athletes just prior to their games/events, in students just before big exams, in surgeons before/after difficult surgeries, etc. ...and, as we see exampled here – in criminal defendants. 

Despite what a person may say, if you see the Puffer Fish expression — you can be sure that the person is beginning or finishing (what is for them) a particularly stressful event.

If the display of stress seems out of proportion with the context, this body language should raise a big red flag in your mind that there's more going on. Dig deeper.
The Puffer Fish nonverbal display occurs during an extended exhalation. It's an outward manifestation of the psyche's attempt to bring about a calming effect – more specifically, a decrease in respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels.

SUMMARY: The Puffer Fish Expression is Body Language dynamic display indicating the attempt of the  subconscious at lowering both our physiological and psychological stress.

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