Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2163:
Beirut, Lebanon Car Bomb Video -
What is often Confused for Body Language

Human beings are only born with two fears - the fear of falling and of loud noises. In the above video a peripheral portion of recent car bombing in Beirut, Lebanon is shown - and the reaction of the bystanders. 

The most obvious and central person captured here is shown very rapidly covering the back and sides of his head with his hands & arms. His arms are held close to the side of the neck while the neck is foreshortened (think of a turtle pulling its head in its shell). The chin is flexed forward - protecting the neck - particularly the trachea. Shoulders are hunched forward with additional flexing of the entire spine, knees, hips and ankles. In addition there is a very rapid bilateral and tight eyelid closure. In many ways the startle reflex is essentially a rapid and very short lived fetal position designed to protect. This startle reflex is inborn in humans and variations of it exist in most mammals. It is not body language - but it is mistaken by some to be a nonverbal signal (also commonly confused by some with aspects of surprise). Obviously, many less dramatic and non-life threatening examples exist in day-to-day life. Intriguingly, it is also a reflex to look toward the loud noise shortly afterwards.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2159: Tom Hanks drops the F-bomb on GMA - Body Language of Fear, Surprise, MAPs and a Bitter Smile

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2122: Eyes White and Wide - Three Body Languge Examples with Two Different Emotional Causes 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2096: Canadian Tenors, Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) and Celine Dion

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1914: Sincere Surprise - Often Fake & Difficult to Capture - Spain Beats Portugal in Euro 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1261: True Surprise - Rarely Captured

Nonverbal Communication Secret # 21: Surprise + Fear +Empathy

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1531: Hillary Clinton Describing the Navy SEAL Raid on Osama Bin Laden

Body Language Analysis # 2161: Nonverbal Communication of the Third Presidential Debate - Barack Obama and Mitt Romney - What Did They Do With Their Hands When They Weren't Talking?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2156: Barack Obama's Body Language at Al Smith Charity Dinner - Comedy, White Lies and Facial Touching MAPs