Sunday, September 30, 2018

Body Language Analysis of Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh Testimonies

I forced myself to watch a good long portion of the Blasey Ford testimony.  What struck me most was the child-like cutesy/mousy demeanour of doctor Ford- the 52-year-old psychology professor accusing Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempted rape more than 3 decades ago- and I guess I'm not the only one who found it extremely odd. Apparently body language experts have weighed in on both her performance, and Kavanaugh's testimony, though not surprisingly there are more of Kavanaugh.

I only found one regarding Ford. Mandy O'Brien of Bombards Body Language put together a fascinating analysis of Ford's body language during her testimony.

Pomonews has a more in depth commentary about the body language issues of Ford.

I didn't see as much of Kavanaugh's testimony as Ford's, but body language expert Patti Wood shared on Refinery29 her analysis of his behaviour focusing on his anger and raw emotions, as most people have.

"His extreme emotions and inability to control his anger, rage, contempt, and tears is revealing," Wood tells Refinery29. "I have analyzed dozens of congressional hearings and I have never seen someone questioned display this broad range of emotions or this intensity." Wood says Kavanaugh used emotions that are known as "cover emotions" in deception detection; anger, "victim tears," and laughter. These emotions can be sincere and he could be showing them because he is innocent, but they can also "cover guilt," she says.
"His tears seem real and they can certainly call forth empathy," she continues. "They can show that he is absolutely innocent, but I have also seen in my work throughout the years that people who are 'caught' sometimes cry because they feel like victims of circumstances. I have additional problem with somebody crying during their congressional testimony. I have seen people eviscerated during congressional testimony. He was not questioned with the same intensity as many have been. He's the first person I've ever seen cry."

Wood, presuming he was there, does begrudgingly admit that he might not have any recollection of the incident if he happened to be drunk, or that if he did do the deed he could have just thought it was horseplay, hence the laughter that Ford claims was indelibly etched into her memory.

But bottom line, and everyone seems to agree, we don't know what the actual truth is. And maybe we never will.

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