Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2247:
Barack Obama's Body Language on Meet the Press
"That was the worst day of my Presidency"

In his "Meet The Press" interview this morning, Barack Obama displayed a classic body language-facial expression cluster. Near the end of the above video Mr. Obama says, " know that was the worst day of my presidency and it's not something that I want to see repeated." Immediately prior to this statement, during a verbal pause (0:53 - 0:55 segment), the President looked down to his right, partially closing his eyelids and clenched his jaw. His lips also initiated an Inward Lip Roll (ILR) - but because his jaw/teeth were closed tightly, this ILR could not be completed - thus there is a "bunching up" of the tissue around the lips (peri-lip tissue) - and his lips grew very thin - stretched in a near-perfect horizontal line. Simultaneously Barack's chin wrinkled and his masseter muscles (jaw muscles) bulged outward. This nonverbal "cluster" (multiple body language displays which are simultaneous or very nearly so) is a classic beacon for anger-frustration. The President, of course, was not responsible for what happened - yet, like anyone in his shoes, since it occurred on his watch, he feels a greater anger, frustration, and responsibility to prevent a similar event than he otherwise would. 

Note: The President is described at looking "down to his right" during the above described segment. This is the quadrant where 95+% of right-handed people look during moments of significant emotion (usually sadness or anger). I have noted before, that although it's common knowledge Barack Obama is left-handed, his brain "behaves" more similarly to that of a right-handed person - and thus his eye-movements are also consistent with the classically (normally)described right-hander's as well. This raises the very real importance of "norming" when assessing body language. Therefore the President is right-handed - but he has ambidextrous tendencies.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2138: President Obama's Anger-Frustration During Debate -  An Under-Appreciated Body Language Signal

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2167: Colin Powell Endorses President Obama - His Body Language Display of Anxiety, Contempt & the  Self-Righteous Head Wiggle

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1163: The Importance of "Norming" in the  Evaluation of Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2238: Sandy Hook Elementary Teacher Lauren Rousseau's Boyfriend's Body Language - Grief & Suppression of Negative Emotions & Empathy

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