Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2233:
Body Language, President Obama, 20 Children
and the Tongue-in-Cheek

In the video above of President Obama's eulogy for those innocents killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, he names off all twenty of the children, "...Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emily, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle, Allison ....", he then says, "God has called them all home. For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on, and make our country worthy of their memory ..." Just after the President says, "memory" (above at 1:15 and imaged at bottom of post) he displays a "Tongue-in-Cheek" nonverbal on his left side. 

The tongue-in-cheek is a facial expression-body language which, when clustered with nonverbals not seen in this example, will indicate other emotions - such as self-righteousness, smugness, "I just caught you" (e.g. gotcha!), "I just won", telling a lie, anger , alpha-dominance and a variation can even signify a sexually provocative display. None of these apply here though. In the nonverbal cluster-context seen in this Newtown address, this display is associated with anxiety and is an act of self-pacifying/self-comforting. Indeed it is a body language form of a MAP (Manipulator, Pacifier, Adaptor) or "self-touching". For most people, delivering a eulogy can certainly be an anxiety provoking experience - even if you're the leader of a country. After such an emotionally wrenching shared-experience that this mass murder was - we all need to be comforted and reassured.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2231: A Common Facial Expression of Mass Killers - Using Body Language as a Threat Assessment Tool

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2215: Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio Joke and Hint regarding the  2016 Presidential Race - "Tongue-in-Cheek" Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1892:  Harry Reid, "That's a Clown Question Bro!" -  Tongue in Cheek

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2093: Ann Curry's Tearful Goodbye - Matt Lauer's Classic "Tongue-in-Cheek" and Duplicitous Smile

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1153:  President Obama's Tongue in Cheek - in Response to the "Birthers"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2085:  Dina Eastwood - Tongue-in-Cheek Variant - Sexually Provocative

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2232: Vicki Soto, a Hero, Body Language and a Mother's Love & Affection  - Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting Interview

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2229: President Obama and a Body Language Signal of  Holding Back Grief, Tears & other Negative Emotions 

The Complete Eulogy can be viewed below.