The Madness And Science Behind The Donald Trump Handshake

Had French President Emmanuel Macron been paying close attention, he would have recognized rapidly just how fraught his coming exchange with Donald Trumpwas to be.

The two leaders had satisfied briefly earlier that day, exchanging a firm, prolonged,” not innocent” handshake that drew attention for its unbound intensity. Now, hours later, as Macron approached Trump and other world leaders at the opening of NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels last week, the U.S. chairwoman offered several non-verbal cues indicating his desire to re-establish the global pecking order.

The first came well before he and Macron were face-to-face. Walking toward one another, Trump reached out to King Philippe of Belgium, who stood directly to his right, to offer an impromptu handshake. The King seemed caught off-guard. For good reason. No one in their group was making any such gesture.

Trump’s offer seemed out of place. But Florin Dolcos, a University of Illinois associate psychology professor and faculty member at the Beckman Institute’s Cognitive Neuroscience Group, indicated it was a deliberate. And the intended audience wasn’t Philippe but Macron.

” That’s a signal Trump was sending:’ This is where you should come first because I’m the alpha here ,'” Dolcos said. “‘ Iinitiated with the other guy .'”

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Moments afterward, another cue. With the two still walking towards one another, Trump appeared up at Macron and opened his arms — a signal typically set aside for family and friends , not two world leaders who’d simply met. Once again, Dolcos suspected Trump was making a nonverbal signal to his French counterpart.

” I think it is a learned behavior. Because typically you don’t do that. You do it with people very close to you in natural circumstances. Not people you don’t really know ,” he told.” In a way it could be seen as a trap .”

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