Thursday, October 11, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2142:
Mitt Romney's face wipe by stranger -
Preening as a signal of Affection

This video highlights Joseph Melluso, the owner of "The Tin Fish" restaurant in Port St. Lucie, Florida, wiping republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's face multiple times. No doubt because he was the owner of the building, he felt a "temporary supervisorial" or "shepherding-like role" for this man who may be the U.S. President in less than a month - and this contributed to this nonverbal behavior. However, when one preens another - particularly in such a public scenario - this is also a body language signal consistent with feelings of affection. This is not to suggest that the two have any relationship or aspire to - but wiping, cleaning, picking at the remnants of a napkin/lint (seen during 1:01 - 1:03, 1:10 - 1:12, 1:15), straightening a tie, or smoothing out wrinkles in clothing, etc. - all examples of preening behavior - are signals of affection. It is common to have affection/false affection and similar feelings for those who we see images in the media. Note how Mitt pulls away and reflexively pats Melluso's arm during 0:21 - 0:22. This same patting action, performed at the end (and sometimes at the beginning or throughout) of a hug, lets the other person know that it's time for the hug to end. Joe Melluso obviously likes the candidate and will, of course, be voting for him. 

Jeanne Moos mentions that the secret service officer didn't raise an eyebrow - however his right eyebrow is certainly raised in a nonverbal signal of incredulity/disbelief at 1:48. 

Should you witness versions of such body language preening behavior at the office (or anywhere else) - even with significantly subtler examples, it's a strong signal that the emotion of affection is being felt.

See also:

Nonverbal Analysis # 2107: Andy Murray, Affection and Savoring the Moment 

Nonverbal Analysis # 2108: Rihanna's and Chris Brown's Kiss and Hug - What were they REALLY feeling? 

Nonverbal Analysis # 1911: Preening as a Signal of Affection-Attraction - Dina & Clint Eastwood 

Nonverbal Analysis # 1808: Time Magazine's Breast Feeding Story, Dr. William Sears and the Attachment Parenting Controversy - Cover Shows Emotional Dissonance at Best

Nonverbal Analysis # 1423: Head First Affection & Head Surrogate Hugs

Nonverbal Analysis # 771: Ann's & Mitt's Affectionate Hug

Nonverbal Analysis # 1921: Who was More Dominant - Tom Cruise or Katie Holmes?

Nonverbal Analysis # 2: Body Language of Blake Lively and Penn Badgley Strongly Predictive of an Impending Break-up in Near Future

Nonverbal Analysis # 33: Who is the Dominant Partner - Blake Lively or Penn Badgley?

Nonverbal Analysis # 2110: Pizza Guy - Scott Van Duzer's Bear-Hug Lift Encounter with President Obama - Staged or Real?