Pictured here is Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She replaced Dominique Strauss-Khan after his abrupt fall from grace and is ranked by Forbes as the ninth most powerful woman in the World. But she has a poor poker face.
The "Pseudo-prayer" can signal several meanings. Like all nonverbal communication - it is crucial to decode other co-existing body language with which it is clustered.
When you see a pseudo-prayer gesture, it's a good idea to look at the eyes and mouth for clues. Although from this angle it is a bit difficult to tell, Ms. Lagarde's eyelids are slightly closed - in this context (see below) this partial closure is significant of contempt-arrogance-distancing.
The IMF MD's mouth demonstrates a moderate amount of lip-pursing. A lip purse is an extremely valuable nonverbal tell. It's a highly reliable beacon that the person has considerable disagreement with what she/he is hearing, has an alternative plan/idea - and is (usually) keeping their opinion to themselves (at least for the time-being). There is a high likelihood that the lip-purser will institute their plan in a clandestine manner - or at least arrange the "game pieces" ahead of time - such that their actions will have increased probability of success. Only a "relative alpha" makes a lip-purse - they are a perceived (perhaps only self-perceived) superior within the group/context. In short, the lip purse is a body language signal of clandestine disagreement with an action plan. Watch out.
Thus Ms. Lagarde's pseudo-prayer is a variation that many of those in power and/or in leadership positions misuse. It's a cousin of the "conventional high steeple" and it's patronizing and condescending - particularly when there is an up-and-down chopping motion of the hand & forearms. It's a potent rapport destroyer.Analysis # 1083: Brewer's MAPs Flag Foreboding
Analysis # 119: Pseudo Prayer in Thailand' Prime Minister
Analysis # 1138: Jennifer Hudson's Whitney Houston Tribute
Analysis # 1181: Helle Thorning-Schmidt & her False Praying Gesture
Analysis # 1698: Susan Rice, Bashar Ja'afari & Kofi Annan's Six Point Peace Plan for Syria
Analysis # 1055: The Subtle Lip Purse - Tom Brady
Analysis # 1715: Jay Carney's Lip Purse - Bin Laden is Dead and General Motors is Alive
Analysis # 9 - Redux: Condoleezza Rice's Lip Purse