Friday, September 28, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2130:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Helping Syria -
Interview with Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell

Have you heard? Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just made a trip to New York City. In this recent Charlie Rose & Norah O'Donnell interview of Ahmadinejad, he displays some great nonverbal tells. Among other nonverbals, he shows several fantastic examples of microexpressions here - for contempt. These can be seen at 0:21, 0:28, 1:21, 1:23 (extremely subtle), 1:52 (extremely subtle), 1:54, 2:34 and 3:53. To the observant yet untrained person, these may look like a twitch of the mouth/lips or a variety of facial tic. Yet these are clear and classic body language signals of contempt. We all have bias towards one side of our face with asymmetrical expressions - and the Iranian President is no different. His mouth-contempt displays are all manifested on his left.

During 3:54 - 3:55, the man from Tehran shows us a brief Self-Righteous Head Wiggle (SRHW). This nonverbal is characterized by a high frequency, low amplitude and short-lived side-to-side head bobble. As is seen here, there is very often a head/neck retraction - although sometimes (more commonly with private, one-on-one scenarios and/or when there is a superior-to-subordinate relationship) there is a forward vector to this motion. This head and neck motion, along with an extended (only tenths of seconds) eyelid closure (aka an "extended blink") which Mahmoud manifests many times during this video - is a nonverbal signal of added incredulity. The SRHW is used by alphas when in the presence of whom they consider to be betas/subordinates. It's a beacon that they are adamant that their opinion/course-of-action is correct. It is very often clustered with other negative emotions. Remember that in your day-to-day world, you will see these (and other) negative body language signals associated with verbal pleasantries. Whenever the verbal and nonverbal are in disagreement - always believe the nonverbal message.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also displays a classic "Lip Purse" expression at the 2:02 mark when Norah O'Donnell asks about whether Iran is training soldiers for the Syrian Government and Bashar al-Assad. Some may falsely ascribe his mouth configuration to an attempt to suppress a smile and/or laugh - however, if this were so - one absolutely key sign we have to see is "smiling with the eyes" - appearing initially and persisting. He is NOT smiling with his eyes. His laughter is feigned. A mouth which suppresses true laughter has a significantly different appearance. 

Pursing lips are a signal that there is strong disparity with what is being said and what is being thought-felt. Moreover those displaying it believe they are in a relative alpha position and they have a plan. They also believe they can execute their plan as well - and it will most likely remain partially or absolutely clandestine.

Ahmadinejad's fabricated laugh would throw most people off track. Beware of Trojan horses. Sometimes they're from Tehran.

See also:
Analysis # 2113: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, the U.S. and the Self-Righteous Head Wiggle

Analysis # 1239: Benjamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama and Iran

Analysis # 1933: Iran's Aggression and their Military's Salute - A Visual Metaphor of WWII & Nazi Fear

Analysis # 2113: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, the U.S. and the Self-Righteous Head Wiggle

Analysis # 112: Pakistan Trumps Iran

Analysis # 1864: Assuring a Nonverbal Display

Analysis # 1881: Interrupting the President & Contempt Display - Neil Munro shows us his Body Language and His (Lack of) Etiquette