Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2141:
Barack Obama's Body Language
Index Finger and Thumb an Inch or two apart -
Incredulous Eyebrow & Forehead

In this video of a recent fundraiser-campaign speech in San Francisco, during the 1:02 - 1:05 segment, Barack Obama says, "...as long as I'm Commander-in-Chief we will sustain the strongest military the World has ever known..." Simultaneous with this declaration, Obama's right eyebrow and right forehead contract and elevate - while the left-sided counterparts remain relaxed. This unilateral facial nonverbal is consistent with disbelief and/or incredulity. The statement which came just prior to this statement is not shown/heard here (e.g. it is somewhat out of context) - and the President could very well have been referencing someone or group who called into question the sincerity of his military commitments (anyone who has access to the transcript of this speech, or a larger video segment - please email the link).

Temporally overlapping slightly (1:05 - 1:07) with the above body language/facial display (and thus contributing to the body language "cluster") is another interesting nonverbal - where the President held his right thumb and forefinger (aka index finger) about 3 inches/ 7.5 cm apart. This gesture may indicate the obvious - such as "a little bit", "a small amount", etc. - however it can also signal skepticism or reluctance.

This is yet another excellent example of how, nonverbally, the hands and the face often mirror each other.
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