Saturday, September 15, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2116:
Michele Bachman's Hands and
Seeing between the lines

During the 0:14 - 0:18 segment and again at 0:19 of this video, Michele Bachmann (R-MN) points with both hands/index fingers at her audience. The two-handed index finger (aka forefinger) point is almost exclusively used in political settings - specifically where the speaker is in front of a crowd with similar ideologies. It is rare (and extremely unwise) to see it displayed when a candidate is trying to garner votes from the independently-minded. Forefinger pointing with even one hand (seen at 0:26) should never be used outside a highly partisan political audience scenario - as it is a cross-culturally and universally offensive gesture. 

The two-handed point is used to try and demonstrate a super-alpha, highly assertive/aggressive stance - and here Ms. Bachmann is displaying it deliberately and consciously. To the casual observer it may appear that the congresswoman is highly confident here - but the truth lies in "reading" (seeing) between the nonverbal lines. Note that during 0:00 - 0:09, 0:18 - 0:19, 0:20 - 0:26 and 0:28 the Minnesota politician displays hand-to-hand touching. In body language nomenclature this is a form of a MAP (Manipulator, Adaptor or Pacifier) and it is a strong indicator of beta behavior and low confidence. Indeed at the 0:20 - 0:26 and again at 0:28, Bachmann is actively massaging/rubbing/picking at the fingers on her right hand - a signal of considerable anxiety. Thus the conscious display (the double point) - indicates FALSE/FEIGNED confidence, while the UNconscious behavior body language (MAP, self-touching) indicates the TRUE emotional tone