On Tuesday Daniel Radcliffe was a guest on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon". The Harry Potter star is of course an accomplished actor of both stage and screen (and, as you learn here if you haven't yet seen the video, he's also an excellent rapper). Yet before he got himself "in character" - when he was just being Daniel - he was quite nervous.
Below is a partial analysis of Daniel Radcliffe's nonverbals leading up to his rendition of Blackalicious' "Alphabet Aerobics"
Radcliffe pulls up sock - this is a general and reliable anxiety indicator.
To thin-slice this specific body language even further, in sub-context, a man adjusting his socks also very often indicates anticipated action (often physical, but not always) which is eliciting the anxiety. Another way of thinking of the sock adjust, is that it signals the need for being more assertive, or up-regulating one's alpha qualities. Can you name any other nonverbal up-regulators?
Note also Mr. Radcliffe closes both of his eyes in an extended blink - a reliable indicator here of emotional processing (his emotions are trying to catch up to what his intellect already knows - he's about to perform a very difficult rap song on a major television show).
0:16 Finger to mouth
At 0:13 Radcliffe says, "Every kid in my cl<stutter>, I, I think I was the first kid in my class to learn all the words to 'Real Slim Shady' ". At 0:16 as he says, "... learn ...." his (index) finger goes very briefly to his mouth. In the context of a declarative and definitive statement, this is a reliable indicator of deception.
0:38 - 0:52
Daniel displays a common general anxiety indicator - one of many varieties of self-touching MAPs (Manipulator, Adaptor, Pacifier) - squeezing and pinching his thumb
Another general anxiety indicator - a "Hard Swallow"
A subtle "Mouth of Fear" can be seen at the 0:48 mark
Voice, also betraying nervousness, cracks as he says, " ... well yeah ..."
A very subtle and rapid "Neck of Fear" with a tightening of Radcliffe's neck muscles is seen at 0:49. This must be viewed in the dynamic context of the above video to appreciate its subtlety.
At the 0:52 mark a "Thumb Shrug" is displayed. A thumb shrug is usually a truncated form of a standard shrug.
Shrugs most commonly indicate, "I don't know", "I don't care" or "What does it matter?" - and some may make the argument that the last of these three is exemplified here. Yet, this is another meaning of a shrug when accompanied by blushing (seen in this body language cluster context as well) along the other anxiety indicators mentioned above. This displays the emotion of a type of self-resignation or acquiescence in the context of pre-embarrassment - as if very much to say, "Here I go - but cut me some slack."
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