Watching an actor being interviewed is a fantastic illustration of the inability to suppress nonverbal tells. When body language is squelched in one area - it "leaks" in another spot - and disproportionately greater. Even people who act for a living are not exempt. "Stalker" and "Nikita" star Maggie Q was a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman today and she is no exception to this maxim. What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis.
At 0:07 Maggie Q readjusts in her chair and almost looks as if she tried to stand and then decided against it.
Simultaneously she displays an Inward Lip Roll (ILR) indicating she is trying to suppress the full expression of an emotion (usually negative) - both outwardly and inwardly.
The action star is very nervous.
During the 0:08.5 - 0:11 segment, she scratches her right arm. This nonverbal belongs to a category known as MAPs (Manipulators, Adaptors, Pacifiers) and this self-touching is a general anxiety indicator.
She repeats a similar configuration intermittently throughout the video and she continues to grip the arm of her chair tightly.
At 0:10 she begins, "I was just, ya know, kind of a broke student. And then I made my way over to Asia somehow, ummm."
Dave then says, "Did you have a plan in mind?"
She answers, "No. That woulda, that woulda been smart [nervous laughter]".
At 0:15 we see her jaw shift quickly and briefly to her left (as Dave finishes his question "... plan in mind?"). This huge tell is a "Jaw Confessional" and is often seen just prior to a disclosure of an embarrassing past act or thought. It is a sign of a person in the midst of a moment of high sincerity. A slow and prolonged jaw to one side (looks like the jaw confessional in slow motion) has a completely different meaning.
At 0:31, Maggie Q displays a "Palm to Sternum" nonverbal. Touching the sternum or over the heart (left upper chest) - particularly with the palm of the hand is another signal of high sincerity and as well as elevated empathy.
During 1:24 - 1:25 we see more "Palmar Touch".
her Hong Kong days (Meyan, unsure of her name's English spelling) is seen here at the 1:50 mark. Hands clasped or in praying configuration in front of the mouth, neck or upper chest - provided they are clustered with other congruent nonverbals - is a strong sign of emotional processing. It is seen when a person witnesses or realizes something particularly good (thus a "Surreal Signal") or especially bad.
This is also another signal of those with both high sincerity and high empathy.
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