Saturday, June 2, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1857:
Pretending to be interested in Justin Bieber -
A Body Language Signal of Insincerity

Justin Bieber walked into a Parisian Plexiglas partition yesterday, knocked himself on the head and unfortunately he ended up with a concussion. No videos or pictures of this event here though - they would probably show some good examples of the startle reflex of those standing near him. The reason this story is included here is "the reporter's dilemma" - because when you're a reporter there are plenty of stories you have to pretend to be interested in. It would be very difficult to report the news or be an anchor for this reason. It's one of the jobs (there are others) that engender sociopathic behavior. After all - we want actors to suspend our disbelief - we want them to lie to us - this is part of their social contract (Ekman). We want news people to tell us the facts though - we want honesty. When reporters pretend to be interested (among other emotions) - they are being insincere and thus they provide for us a very available forum to identify many insincere body language displays. Such is the case here.

Kareen Wynter a CNN/Showbiz Tonight correspondent (lady dressed in yellow on the right) displays a very common nonverbal many times throughout this piece on Justin Bieber. Take note of her upper eyelids. She repeatedly opens them very widely in a feigned attempt to display interest and enthusiasm. This is an act and a very common nonverbal signal of insincerity seen daily all around us. It's a body language equivalent of using three or four exclamation marks when only one - or perhaps a well-chosen (and sincerer) word would convey thoughts and emotions more accurately. Beware of this nonverbal.

An interesting side-note here is Ms. Wynter's forehead is significantly hypo-reactive. It is very likely that she has had botox treatments. The inability to fully express oneself in one area (here because of lack of forehead function) very often leads to a Hyper-response in another area (her eyelids).

Other emotions seen with eyelids opened in this "White & Wide" configuration are: Fear, Moderate to Severe Anger (Rage), Surprise and sometimes Psychological Shock (Emotional Overload).