Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1711:
Charles Taylor, Sierra Leone, Blood Diamonds
and the Double Shhh! Sign

Charles Taylor, a previous President of Liberia, was found guilty today by the United Nations International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Sierra Leone's Civil War. At the end of this short video segment (0:27 - 0:33), Taylor is seen displaying what some refer to a variant of the pistol steeple, aka the Double Shhh! Sign (DSS).

A true (pure) pistol steeple which is held lower - in front of the chest or stomach - and pointed towards others (as one may hold a handgun) - sheds light on the coexisting primarily alpha-agressive emotional tone (although there often is a defensive component present - see: Analysis # 1705: Francois Hollande & the French Presidential Election - The Pistol Steeple and Emotional Dissonance). The DSS however, is held in front of the mouth with the index fingers pressed against each other and the lips - and is almost entirely a beta-protective symbol. This "Double Shhh" is somewhat similar to the entire (or majority of the) hand covering the mouth in time of surprise, shock, and disbelief - however the DSS does not have an empathy component as does someone who suddenly covers their mouth with most/all of their hand.

See also:

Secret # 221: Spontaneous Mouth Covering and Empathy

Analysis # 1531: Hillary Clinton Describing the U.S. Navy SEAL raid on Osama Bin Laden

Secret # 21: Surprise + Fear + Empathy

Those displaying the double shhh! sign are worried about themselves. When others cover their mouths using all the digits or the whole hand - they may be in part worried about themselves, but there is nearly always a large component of empathy present (one exception being during moments of embarrassment). Both body language signals show that the brain is emotionally processing a new and often very sudden event(s). Charles Taylor, is trying to emotionally digest that he was just found guilty of 11 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes.