Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2932: Fred Couch ("Affluenza" Father) Arrested and a Body Language Signal of .... (VIDEO, PHOTO)

Fred Couch, infamous for being the father of Ethan Couch, was arrested recently for allegedly impersonating a police officer. Ethan Couch's attorney used the legal defense of "Affluenza" when, driving while intoxicated, the 16 year-old killed four people and seriously injuring two others in a motor vehicle accident near Dallas, Texas on 15 June 2013.

During the 1:47 - 1:48 segment in the above video, Fred Couch is seen opening the door for his ex-wife, Tonya Couch. The manner in which he does this however is of particular nonverbal noteworthiness. Mr. Couch opens the door with his arm & hand held very high with the intention of his ex-wife walking beneath them. When we look at this body language or any similar scenario in isolation - it's important to note that he had elevated anxiety (as anyone would who was in court), and thus what normally would have been opening a door in a traditional manner (standing behind the door as it is opened), becomes awkward simply because it's an after-thought. Every man has occasionally committed this faux pas. In addition, parents are used to doing this for their children. However, with these exceptions aside, when this particular body language is seen chronically or a fairly large percentage of the time, it is highly consistent with narcissistic personality disorder.

The image here is doubled due to the moment of capture occurs as the editing was fading to another scene.

We can't make the judgment of narcissism here because we have a sample size of only one.

What other nonverbal signals do you see in this video?

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2931: Miley Cyrus has a Homeless Man, Jesse Helt, accept her MTV Video Music Award

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2512:  Matthew Cordle's YouTube Confession  and the Death of Vincent Canzani  "I Killed a Man" - What His Body Language Tells Us ...  It's NOT what you think!

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 341:  Narcissism, Parking and Cell Phones

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2322:  Jeb Bush & Matt Lauer - Which one is the Narcissist?  Body Language Red Flags


Monday, August 25, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2931: Miley Cyrus has a Homeless Man, Jesse Helt, accept her MTV Video Music Award (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Yesterday at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus had a homeless man - Jesse Helt, accept her Video of the Year award (for "Wrecking Ball") on her behalf.

Mr. Helt said, “Thank you all. My name is Jesse, and I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now. I know, because I am one of those people. I have survived in shelters all over this city, the music industry will make over $7 billion this year, and outside these doors are 54,000 human beings who have no place to call home. If you want to make a powerful change in the world right now, please join us and go to Miley’s Facebook page. A dream you dream alone is only a dream, but a dream we dream together is reality. Thank you so much for your time.

This image and the close-up below were captured during the 2:14 mark.

In context where the remainder of the facial expressions are congruent (and yet often times they're not, in which case it has completely different meanings) - the presence of a central forehead contraction (eyebrows pulled together and upwards) - indicate emotional or physical pain being experienced directly or on behalf of others via empathy. 

Jesse Helt has been homeless, and for a moment the World is watching him ask for their help. 

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2930: Rand Paul and "Likability" - Building vs. Destroying It

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2922: Evacuating Yazidis from Iraq's Mount Sinjar - A Daughter's Anguish, Empathy and Mirror Neurons

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1866:  Miley Cyrus & Liam Hemsworth are Engaged -  An Affection-Love Sincerity Signal

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2787: Korean Ferry Sinking, Empathy and Emotional Processing - Body Language  

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1732:  Rationalization, Rapport, Empathy Expression  How Jewel got her name

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2669: Sara Bareilles and the Body Language of the Rationalization Rapport Empathy Expression  

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2424:  Giada De Laurentiis on Conan O'Brien Beautiful Teeth but Insincere Smiles and Some Body Language Signals of Waning Love


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2930: Rand Paul and "Likability" - Building vs. Destroying It (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

It is no big surprise that Rand Paul wants the Oval Office in 2016. And whether it's the Republican nomination - or the Presidential election, those who love him will vote for him and the electorate who despises him will vote for the democrat (or another republican in the primary). Yet that still leaves one-third (or even as much as 45%) of the American public in the middle.

The most important factor by far which governs the decisions of the middle-third of the public is likability. And while every pollster measures this, few campaign managers take the distinction any further. Within the minds of these swing-voters, likability can be further broken down into three components:
  • Nonverbal Behavior
  • Vocal Qualities
  • Verbal content
Of these three, nonverbal behavior is the most important - followed by vocal qualities (paralanguage) and least of all (and ironic to most) are the candidate's words. So very little time, energy and effort are put into improving their nonverbal and vocal qualities - yet these will determine the results of the election. The same is true in the vast majority of times when it comes to making a sale, convincing a jury (or a judge), the bedside manner of a physician, de-escalating a confrontation, negotiations, dating,e personal disputes, etc.

During this interview, Senator Rand Paul is displaying several key body language signals which destroy likability. The conventional steeple (here displayed rather elevated and thus amplifying its effect), when used very sparingly and just for a second or two - can transmit alpha qualities, assertiveness and leadership strength. Paul, however, uses this for much too long (as do most who use it) and thus it backfires transmitting feelings of arrogance as well as condescending and patronizing attitudes.

Another up-regulator of these negative emotions which Senator Paul also is displaying here, is the central forehead contraction (CFC). When not used in the context of emotional or physical pain - either for oneself or for another person, persons or animal(s) - (e.g. sincere empathy) - the CFC is consistent with arrogance, incredulity and/or contempt.

What other body language configurations is Rand Paul using which are destroying both his likability and rapport?

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2929: Jessica Alba, Sin City 2, Action Figures and the Jaw Confessional

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2328:  Senator Rand Paul's Body Language -  Pens, Lies and Filibusters -  Finger to Mouth Surrogates

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2333:  Sen. Rand Paul at 2013 CPAC -  Body Language & variations on the Lip Purse

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2498:  McKenzie Morgan, 17 Year-Old Solo Pilot Walks Away From Crash Partial Mouth and Neck of Fear Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis & Self-Test No. 2252:  How Self-Aware are you?  Plane Crashes with Collateral Damage to Cars & Highway 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2473:  Anthony Weiner & Huma Abedin Part III  When Shoulder-to-Shoulder is Broken 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2490:  Hillary Clinton and the Two-Handed Point - The American Bar Association, Body Language and Variations on a Theme 


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2929: Jessica Alba, Sin City 2, Action Figures and the Jaw Confessional (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Jessica Alba appeared this week on Conan O'Brien's show (Conan) plugging her most recent film, Sin City 2 (A Dame to Kill For). Mr. O'Brien spoke about her Nancy Callahan action figure - and Jessica responded with, among other things, a very under-appreciated nonverbal.

The jaw confessional is a quickly initiated and short-lived lateral (sideways) movement of the jaw which accompanies and indicates embarrassment. Often there is a verbal apology or confession immediately following this nonverbal. However, when there is no verbal statement made - you can be absolutely sure embarrassment is truly present - yet remains unspoken. For when the verbal and the nonverbal languages display incongruity - the body language is always correct.

There may be a lip component as well as other facial or body nonverbals accompanying the jaw confessional.

Be careful though - for when the jaw moves slowly to one side and is of longer duration - it has a completely different meaning (Do you know what this slower nonverbal indicates?).

For about 1.5 seconds (from about 0:14.5 to 0:16), Alba's jaw moves to her right. These four consecutive images are between 0.1 and 0.5 seconds apart. Often times this nonverbal signal is even more evanescent and thus can be classified as a "Microexpression" rather than Jessica's "Near-microexpression".

Here, Alba's jaw is moving further to her right with the beginning of a lip component 

More jaw confessional with increased lip component and eyelid closure (psychological blocking). 

Jaw partially back towards center with the lip component still considerable.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2582: Jay Carney Dismisses (and is Embarrassed by) Low Obamacare Enrollment Numbers

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2314:  Naomi Watts Pre-Oscar Interview and her  Body Language of the "Jaw Confessional" and the Sincerity Quotient

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2776: James Franco's Mea Culpa

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2928: Oscar Pistorius, Hugging, Affection and Sincerity

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2778: April Fools Prank, Embarrassment and Body Language 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2764: Embarrassment, Affection & Flirtation - Mila Kunis & Ashton Kutcher - Kiss Cam Body Language 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2122:  Eyes White and Wide -  Three Body Language Examples with  Two Different Emotional Causes 


Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2928: Oscar Pistorius, Hugging, Affection and Sincerity (PHOTO)

This image of Oscar Pistorius was taken several weeks ago during his trial of which he is accused of murdering his then girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp (vs. accidentally killing her believing she was an intruder).

In this photo Mr. Pistorius is hugging a supporter. The identity of the woman is unknown (It may very well be that she is a member of the general public or an acquaintance) and we do not have this in a video format to put this moment in a greater context - yet there is a huge nonverbal lesson here.

Human-to-human contact is a relatively rare event - accounting for a very small percentage of any given day (even among family members).  Whenever a hug is given, it should generally be given with two hands - unless a deliberate emotional distance is being sought or maintained. Thus a large majority of the time, when a higher level of affection is being projected or desired - a hug should be more fully expressed. Put down your phone, your car keys, your brief case, your purse, etc. - and be entirely present in the moment. This is particularly true when the other person is family, a lover or a good friend - but again, if a hug is being initiated - most of the time it should be done so sincerely and with some level of affection. If it is given sincerely and not returned similarly (or a vice versa) - this interpersonal information is very valuable and should be known.

The act of hugging well is a huge rapport builder. Don't pass up the opportunity to build rapport and affection in those who want or deserve it.

If the other person is not an individual with whom you have affection or feel socially obligated to hug - a one-armed hug is advisable and acceptable - however do so from a standpoint of full social-situational awareness - rather from one of naïveté, lack of mindfulness or poor body language knowledge/skill. There are of course numerous other nonverbal parameters of hugs which will either up-regulate or down-regulate the affection and intimacy level of the hug, kiss or other encounter (how many you can list?).

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2927: Barack Obama regarding ISIS/ISIL - Atypical for the President

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2785: Oscar Pistorius - Another Day of Testimony - Low Confidence Body Language Display

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2809: Oscar Pistorius, Reeva Steenkamp and Kim Myers

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2788: Oscar Pistorius Trial - Frustration & Anger

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2750: Oscar Pistorius, Reeva Steenkamp and Lies

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2919: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama - Friends? - will they Hug it Out?


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2927: Barack Obama regarding ISIS/ISIL - Atypical for the President (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Yesterday U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to the World regarding ISIS/ISIL and the execution of James Foley.

During his speech Mr. Obama uncharacteristically displayed a dramatically diminished use of his hands and arms. In body language terminology most of these are referred to as "Illustrators" (although in common parlance most people simply call them "gestures").

Most of the time the President is far superior compared to most politicians in his quality use of illustrators - and typically he strikes a very good balance between alpha or beta - and relatively rarely deviates from quality body language. This speech however was a significant exception.

No doubt the President felt and continues to feel great anguish at the death of the American photo-journalist and the other innocents killed, raped and assaulted by ISIS/ISIL. However, his anxiety and beta behavior is shown by, among other things, essentially no use of his hands and arms throughout this speech. It is, of course, easy for anyone to comment or critique when they do not bear the burden of high office, yet if Mr. Obama had used his more typical quality nonverbal illustrators - with even a modest amount of more alpha and assertive emphasis - it would have better served him at driving home his points in such a crucial speech.

My sincere condolences to the family and loved-ones of James Foley and the multitudes of others who are suffering in Iraq and Syria at the hands of ISIS/ISIL.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2926: Baby Hears Lion's Roar for First Time - Body Language Tells (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2923: Barack Obama, Jaw Clenching and Diffusing Anger - Body Language as a Form of Biofeedback

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2511:  Barack Obama & Vladimir Putin  Handshake at 2013 G20 Meeting

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2150:  Body Language Advice for  President Obama and Governor Romney in Tonight's Debate

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1871: Barack Obama  Explains His "Private Sector is Doing Fine" Comment -  The "Dominant Spider" vs.The "Split-Finger Fastball" 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2877: Zac Efron and Michelle Rodriguez Dating - Thumbs Forward Arms Akimbo  


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2926: Baby Hears Lion's Roar for First Time - Body Language Tells (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

This is a darling video and fun to watch. From a nonverbal point-of-view it illustrates some excellent examples of body language tells fundamental to all human beings.

The eyelids open very wide in a primal expression of surprise when this little one initially hears the lion's roar.

A surprise mouth may be characterized either by a vertically oriented oval mouth - or as seen here - a slightly opened relaxed-appearing mouth (aka "slack jawed" appearance).

In the presence of sincerity - surprise is almost always rapidly followed by a second emotion (What is the only exception to this rule?). Here surprise replaced by fear. Note the corners of the baby's mouth pulled out (laterally) and downward. This is less noticeable to many because of the lack of teeth. Lower teeth are more exposed in the context of fear. 

When the lion roars again, this little angel relapses back into eyes that are "white and wide" with more slack jaw of surprise.

This time the emotion which supplants surprise is joy - manifested here by laughter

With the exception of psychological shock (e.g. watching or hearing about a severe care accident, an unexpected death, other major life events, etc.), when the expression of surprise lasts longer than just a few seconds - it is being acted out or exaggerated upon and thus is a form of deception or insincerity.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2925: Governor Rick Perry's Mug Shot - What Emotions are Present?

Negotiation Secret # 56:  Surprise with a Touch of Fear

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1261:  True Surprise - Rarely Captured  IMF Director Christine Lagarde

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2170:  The San Francisco Giants, Surprise,  Bird Poop and Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2653: Carey Mulligan - Blunted Surprise and ... Body Language on Jimmy Kimmell, Part I

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2438:  Sincere Surprise Body Language  Three Year Old Receives Brain Stem Implant and  Hears for the First Time

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1171:  Not So Fast Swift ....  Taylor's False Surprise


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2925: Governor Rick Perry's Mug Shot - What Emotions are Present? - Body Language Tells (PHOTO)

Rick Perry appeared at the Travis Count Justice Center today - for booking as well as having his mug shot taken. He is alleged to have committed two felonies in the abuse of power as Governor of Texas.

From a body language point of view, his mug shot displays an interesting mix of emotions. Politicians are used to having to try and smile when they are not truly feeling joy or happiness.

If we look at Governor Perry's eyelids - they are partially closed in addition to having concave-up dynamic furrows in each of his lower lids (more prominent on Perry's right side). Both of these eye findings are required in order for a sincere smile (Duchenne Smile) to be present.

Although the eyebrows do lower slightly in a sincere smile - it is very subtle and usually not visible. Here, Perry's eyebrows are significantly lower and also are drawn together (note the vertical furrow between his eyebrows expending upwards). These changes are indicative of anger.

Looking at the Governor's lips we see that they are straight (nearly) horizontal and stretched thin - particularly his upper lip. This mouth configuration is highly correlative with the emotion of anger.

The "mustache area" on Perry's left side is slightly tighter than on his right - there is also a trace downward and a bit more lateral vectoring of left side of his mouth. His left nostril is also flared. This indicates contempt.

Governor Rick Perry feels a self-righteous variety joy-happiness, mixed with anger and contempt during this mugshot.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 346:  Rick Perry Forgets:  8 Republican Presidential Hopefuls Debate in Detroit -  60 seconds of Oops, Body Language and Empathy

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2879: Barack Obama, Governor Rick Perry and the Crisis at the Southern Border

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2924: Michael Brown, Captain Ron Johnson, Church Rally and Ferguson, Missouri - Body Language Tells

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 394 & 496:  Rick Perry's Nonverbal Mistakes in Iowa

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2563: President Obama's Subtle Anger - Body Language of Government Shutdown & the Debt Ceiling

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 353:  Brad Pitt's Smiling Eyes -  Sincere and Insincere Smiles

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2682: Sperm Donor Switch and a Body Language Example of ....


Monday, August 18, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2924: Michael Brown, Captain Ron Johnson, Church Rally and Ferguson, Missouri - Body Language Tells (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Ron Johnson, a Captain in the Missouri State Highway Patrol gave a very moving speech yesterday at a Rally in Ferguson, Missouri for the people of that town - and of course in the memory of Michael Brown. It was a very moving speech. Captain Johnson's empathy and sincerity quotients are extremely high. He is a both a natural leader and fantastic speaker - two qualities that few elected leaders ever achieve. 

Most of the time, the hands clasped in front of the body is not recommended - particularly for those in such a high-alpha/leadership position. Had Captain Johnson been giving a different speech in a different setting, it is very probable he would not have had his hands configured in such a manner. However in the context of a memorial service (even though he is not clergy) his clasping hands is variation of a prayer and more specifically shows deferential behavior and respect to Michael Brown, his family and those attending this Church rally.

Pointing to Michael Brown's family members with a palm-up, flexed elbow, fingers slightly apart - is rarely seen - yet by far the best way Johnson, or anyone in his position should point at an audience. Anything else would be too alpha and offensive. By pointing in this manner, he both engenders and shows respect -  as well as builds rapport.

This is the only negative critique on Captain Johnson for this speech - he was pointing slightly out towards the audience (and only partially down) with his index finger when he should have (and had probably meant to) point directly downward instead.

Again, while index finger pointing towards the audience is almost never recommended, one can point to oneself - as long as it is not done in arrogance. Here he was holding himself up to a higher standard - thus a humbling gesture.

Here Johnson points to the side - where there is no audience - when he references his son. Again - not pointing at the audience is nonverbally very wise. 

Here Captain Johnson displays a "Loose fist, thumb up" illustrator. This nonverbal is used instead of pointing toward the audience. It displays some alpha characteristics without being too much so - thus an alpha-beta hybrid.

Most "leaders" are often too aggressive in both their verbal language and their body language - when moderation, humility and empathy are called for. An alpha-beta hybrid (of which this is but one type) helps to maintain these assertive, alpha and leadership qualities without being arrogant, patronizing or condescending.

One last place that is acceptable to point - skyward. This nonverbal illustrator of course must also be made in with verbally congruency. 

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2923: Barack Obama, Jaw Clenching and Diffusing Anger - Body Language as a Form of Biofeedback

Nonverbal Communication Analysis #2160:  Index Finger (Forefinger) Pointing in Politics - The Third (and Final) 2012 Presidential Debates - Body Language of Being an Alpha Male without Offending

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2668: Ryan Seacrest - Less Offensive Variations on Pointing - Body Language Nuance

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1233:  Putin's Pointing Pen

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2605: President Obama and Health Insurance Cancellation Fix - and an Alpha-Beta Hybrid Body Language Illustrator

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2710: Microsoft's New CEO Sayta Nadella's Body Language vs. Bill Gates


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2923: Barack Obama, Jaw Clenching and Diffusing Anger - Body Language as a Form of Biofeedback (PHOTOS)

In this image taken recently during the President's vacation on Martha's Vineyard, Mr. Obama took some time out to comment on the dynamic situations in Iraq including the resignation of Nouri al-Maliki and the Yazidi's plight from their entrapment on Mt. Sinjar.

Whether you agree or disagree with Barack Obama's politics, you probably recognize his superior speaking ability - but you may not be as cognizant of his superior nonverbal skills. You may also be aware of how - unlike many other elected leaders - he is better than most at not letting negative words or actions affect his demeanor. Yet few realize that all of these are intimately connected - the verbal, the nonverbal, emotional awareness and emotional control. This phenomenon is subtly illustrated in the image above.

Jaw clenching is a body language signal highly consistent with anger (although it can be seen in other settings depending on the other nonverbals with which it is clustered). Additional nonverbal anger signs here include the eyebrows being drawn together as well as their downward-vectoring. Nostril flaring also accompanies anger (along with some other emotions). All of these are present in this picture of POTUS.

The President's jaw clenching can be easily seen in this photo. It is important to note however, that there is no jutting of the jaw (a forward displacement of the mandible often resulting in a momentary under-bite). Because Barack's teeth are clenched, his lip cannot roll inwards - which often occurs during the moments far from emotional baseline - so bunching up of the lips and adjacent tissue occurs (A "Peri-lip Bulge" - here in abundance). Chin dimpling is also seen.

In the presence of jaw clenching (as long as there is no jaw jutting) - if the back part (posterior) of the jaw is clenched tighter - the anger tends to be greater and this action facilitates an escalation of the anger. When the front portion (anterior) of the jaw is the primary focus of the tightening - the anger tends to be less - and in this tends to engender the anger's decrescendo. This is a form of body language biofeedback. Of course there are many other factors which may build or lessen anger or any negative emotion in these crucial "refractory periods" - but this is a valuable one. Where does your jaw tighten when you grow angry? Are you even aware of this? How do you dial this down?

Emotional self-awareness is relatively rare. The ability to down-regulate negative emotions is even scarcer. Nonverbal techniques learned and practiced will increase emotional self-recognition and thus aide in self-de-escalation.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2922: Evacuating Yazidis from Iraq's Mount Sinjar - A Daughter's Anguish, Empathy and Mirror Neurons

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2195:  Sen. John McCain's Body Language when Comparisons made between Condoleezza Rice to Susan Rice & War with Iraq to Benghazi, Libya Attack

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2517:  Bashar al-Assad Fears Over-Throw if U.S. Attacks,  Body Language Tell During Charlie Rose Interview  Part II

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2469: Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin and the NYC Mayoral Race Body Language & the Five Burroughs, Part I

Nonverbal Communication Quiz-Analysis No. 2869: Barack Obama's Executive Action on Immigration Reform, The Rose Garden 30 June 2014 - Sincere or Insincere?