Donald Trump: Does he believe what he says? Body language expert decodes Republican's most divisive speeches

Mr Trump has insisted his comments are 'not racist', saying UK politicians should be 'thanking' him

Victoria Richards
Thursday 10 December 2015 15:13
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Donald Trump called for a 'complete shutdown' of Muslims entering the US in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack
Donald Trump called for a 'complete shutdown' of Muslims entering the US in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack

In recent days, presidential hopeful Donald Trump has become one of the most divisive and controversial figures in America, earning global condemnation with his incendiary comments on "the massive Muslim problem" and his call to ban all Muslims from entering the US.

A petition has been signed by more than 420,000 people, calling for a ban on the business magnate entering the UK because of his use of "hate speech" - and a White House spokesman said that his right-wing rhetoric "disqualifies him from serving as president".

Some have suggested he is pandering to a conservative audience; expressing extreme views to play into a narrative spurred by recent terror attacks carried out by Isis. Yet Mr Trump has insisted his comments are "not racist", saying UK politicians should be "thanking" him "instead of pandering to political correctness".

We asked a body language specialist to give us his expert opinion on whether Donald Trump, who has expressed many of his controversial views openly at speeches and rallies across America, completely believes everything he says.

Darren Stanton said: "When i first begin to analyse someone behaviour, be it for a generalised view of overall performance or indeed to spot signs of deceit, I do research on the individual so I view as much footage as I can of the person to establish what we call a baseline.

USA: Trump calls for Muslims to be banned from entering US

"I look at the speed of a persons breathing, identify what is normal for them, then watch the subtle changes in someone's chest. I also listen to the pitch, speed and tone of someone's voice. It's pretty well established that when someone is under extreme pressure from being discovered in a lie, or speaking about a topic in which they have little or no confidence, their pitch goes up, their speed may even increase or their voice may crack.

"I look at the person's face - their cheeks, neck, earlobes and nose are all areas that can be affected by the body's ‘flight or flight' response to stress. We've all heard the expression: "the blood drained from their face", or, "they were white as a ghost" - this is an example of that process.

"It has also been discovered that although there are many cultural differences in body language or customs, facially, the face generally only exhibits seven basic expressions of emotion which are consistent worldwide. These are:

  • Happiness
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Surprise
  • Fear
  • Contempt/Moral superiority
  • Disgust

"These are unconscious, fleeting expressions of emotion that flash for less than a fifth of a second. If, for example, a colleague congratulated you on your promotion, but then flashed a "disgust" micro-expression, we could conclude happiness for you was not the true emotion.

"I'm also interested in how animated a person is is terms of their facial expressions, voice and hand gestures. If their normal pattern of behaviour is interrupted by any inconsistent behaviour, this is what we call "leakage" - the body is streaming out the true intent.

"After analysing Mr Trump in great detail on his performance in relation to the topic of banning Muslims from the US, my conclusion is that this is a true belief he has - he is not just saying it to court the media or as a publicity stunt.

"His micro-expressions, voice pitch, facial gestures and hand gestures all remained consistent with his baseline behaviour.

"Even is a person is well-versed in speaking publicly, most of these gestures are unconscious processess - meaning that even if a person were a good liar, it would be very difficult indeed to maintain the behaviour I observed.

"A gesture Mr Trump uses quite a lot is the "open palm gesture", which is said to be a sign of openness and honesty. It's like saying, "look, I have nothing in my hand to hurt you."

"Out of the seven channels of communication that I observed, he was consistent in all - therefore I conclude he was making statements that appeared to be consistent with his belief system."

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