In the first presidential debate, the shouting drowned out the body language

The first presidential debate of 2020 was unlike any other that Laura Dudley, an assistant clinical professor at Northeastern who specializes in body language, has seen. As she analyzed the candidates’ non-verbal cues, she said, it was impossible for her to overlook the shouting, interrupting, and name-calling between the rivals. 

Dudley had some noteworthy takeaways: How President Trump, with stiff arms and hunched shoulders, appeared defensive. How former Vice President Joe Biden closed his eyes, shook his head, and looked directly into the camera, attempting to make a connection with viewers. But “there was no clear winner in terms of communicating a message clearly and thoughtfully,” she said, “in part because of the interruptions and shenanigans.” Watch Dudley analyze the candidates’ behavior, and judge for yourself.