Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1555:
Ann Romney Hits it Back Over the Net to
Hilary Rosen

Ann Romney was made into somewhat of a target yesterday by Hilary Rosen, a democrat strategist. In this interview, Mrs. Romney defended herself, Mitt Romney and her position. There are several great nonverbal tells exhibited in this segment. This is not a political commentary, rather an objective body language analysis of the moments encapsulated here.

At multiple times [2:18 (a microexpression), 4:02-4:04, 4:05-4:12 (slows in frequency), 4:43-4:59, 6:11-6:16, 6:28-6:31, 7:27-8:05], while Mrs. Romney is waiting for Martha MacCallum to finish her statements/questions (Ann is not speaking), the potential first lady's head undergoes a quick side to side movement in a moderate-to-high frequency (relatively fast) and low amplitude (less than a centimeter) manner. Her upper body takes part in this movement to a lesser degree as well. This nonverbal, coupled with her mid-face tension (around the nose, nostrils, just below the nose and the upper lip) signals anger and indignation. It is a sign of a increase in adrenaline as well as a crescendo of sympathetic nervous system activity - here in the context of anger. Mrs. Romney is mad. When she is not expressing herself verbally, this negative emotion "shifts" and is expressed nonverbally instead. Although she's doing a pretty good job of letting her anger "roll off her back" - it's leaking out for us to see here.

There's another nonverbal that Mrs. Romney displays in this video, that if I were coaching her I would want her (or anyone else) to eliminate immediately. Specifically, she puts her hands together in a "pseudo-praying" configuration and then gesticulates them together in an up-and-down motion, while pointing them directly at the audience (seen during time-marks: 5:12 - 5:41). This is a somewhat toned-down version of a conventional steeple amalgamated with pointing and wagging one's index finger at the audience. It's patronizing and condescending. This does not build rapport, rather it destroys it. She should stop it. This particular nonverbal tends to be used by females considerably more than males - and alpha females in particular. Michelle Obama uses it as well. She should stop it too (Mrs. Obama can be seen in a still image here displaying a variation of this manifested in a "low steeple" body language: Secret # 1093: When NOT to be Alpha).

Take note also of how Ann Romney takes a deep breath after each time she speaks. This body language is related in cause-effect to the "Puffer Fish" (see Secret # 1122: Tiger, Pebble Beach and the Puffer Fish). Her overall respiration (breathing) rate is also significantly increased - which is consistent with any anxiety state and certainly with anger.