Thursday, March 29, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1482:
George Clooney's Lizard Tongue (Tongue Jut)

George Clooney gives us a great example here of a "Lizard Tongue". Some may also refer to this a "Snake Tongue or a "Tongue Jut". Depending on the other body language it is clustered with, this nonverbal may indicate: "I've been bad", "I've got caught", "I got away with something", excitement or "I did a foolish thing"(Navarro). It can also indicate self-deprecating humor or excitement depending on the other nonverbals with which it is clustered. Although Clooney uses it here with a sincere smile - it is often much less obvious in business and other settings. The lizard tongue is a common tell when there is surreptitious activity afoot or during negotiations.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication # Analysis 1492:
Ben Bernanke's Duping Delight &
Partial Emblematic Slip

Ben Bernanke is showing us a sincere but suppressed smile in this image. His eyes, particularly his lower lids are great examples of the specific configurations we should always see with an authentic smile of joy-happiness (see Secret # 353: Brad Pitt's Smiling Eyes - Sincere and Insincere Smiles). The mouth component of his smile is suppressed - not being opened. The primary reason he is smiling it is directly related to what his left hand is doing - specifically the middle finger. The FED Chairman is flipping off whoever is speaking.

An Emblem is a specific body language term for a signal that is recognized within a region, culture, country - or in this case worldwide. Its meaning is non-ambiguous within that described region. But emblems can vary from culture to culture, etc. - so great care must be given so as to not misinterpret their meanings. An emblem may be a positive in one country and quite derogatory in another. A Partial Emblem is a modification of the complete emblem - such that it is displayed in a not-traditional location. It is also common for partial emblems to be displayed in fragmented form - i.e. not fully unfurled. A Partial Emblematic Slip (PES) is a subconscious display of an emblem which often contradicts the words being spoken

Note also the force being applied by Ben's middle finger to his left temple region. It is displacing the skin and underlying tissue easily 1.5 cm or more. This signal of force speaks to the amplitude of his negative emotional tone. If his finger were a pencil, it would have broken.

Here, Mr. Bernanke is displaying his smile in unison with giving the Bird. Thus his smile is a variation of  "Duping Delight". The Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank may be smiling for several reasons, but the primary (perhaps only) one is that he is fooling (duping) the speaker - giving him a profane gesture in a camouflaged manner. Ben is sincerely happy - yes ... but not for the usual reasons. When a partial emblematic slip is displayed in the company of language with which is not congruent - always believe the body language. In such scenarios, the PES is a highly reliable method of deception detention (Ekman). 


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1465: Santorum's Anger Eyes - White and Wide
Confrontation with Jeff Zeleny of
The New York Times

This video of Rick Santorum showcases a fantastic body language example of the transition from mild anger to moderate-severe levels of anger (rage). Notice how the Republican Presidential hopeful's eyelids at first (with milder anger) grow closer together - into what some will call a "squint" configuration (think Clint Eastwood in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" - Clint is famous for this "look"). A few seconds later however, Santorum's eyes appear larger as his lids open up and his anger grows. This lid opening exposes more of the "whites of the eyes" (sclera) and is highly characteristic for moderate to severe degrees of anger. This is most notable at the 1:07 - 1:08 mark and again at 1:12 -1:17 and here it is considerably more prominent in Santorum's Left eye. There also is a large amount of mid-face tightening as well as thinning of Rick's upper lip. This is a classic anger cluster. When these nonverbals are accompanied by the hand gestures of finger pointing with arm-hand chopping, there is a significantly increased chance of physical altercation. In many other settings, without family members and cameras looking on, being in the national spotlight, etc. this probably would have occurred. 

Santorum's use of "...come on man..." towards the beginning of this encounter was a form of verbally withdrawing his sword and attempting to apologize for his profanity. But after a short lull, his anger re-escalates. A very brief (microexpression) of rage occurs again at about the 1:54 mark.

It is interesting to note the gentleman to Santorum's left during this episode (wearing a pink and purple stripped tie). Probably a senior campaign assistant, his Inward Lip Roll" (ILR) was a nonverbal cue to us that he was, from a surrogate-empathy point-of-view, fruitlessly trying to control Santorum's temper. An Inward Lip Roll is a signal that our psyche is trying to control an outward display of negative emotion. This campaign manager was, for a moment, trying to prevent Santorum's anger from escalating - much like a fan contorts his body in an effort to "help" a player on the field to make a catch.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1460:
French Presidential Election -
Marine Le Pen and Fear-Anxiety

Marine Le Pen is a candidate in upcoming French Presidential election. In this image she shows a very common, yet very "nonverbally naked" cluster. Her emotions are very exposed for all to see. Touching anywhere on the head or neck, in general, is a strong indicator of anxiety. Touching the face or front of the neck is more highly indicative with deception-anxiety, while rubbing/touching/scratching the back (posterior) head or neck tends to strongly point toward non-deception related anxiety.

Certainly all facial or anterior neck touching does not indicate lying however. Careful observation and correlation with other body language signals, paralanguage and verbal indicators (e.g. statement analysis) is always essential when trying to elicit deception.

Le Pen's eyes, while partially closed (as is required for all sincere smiles) do not have the concave-up furrows in her lower lids - rather they have multiple small ridges & wrinkles. True joy-happiness smiles must have this highly characteristic and transient lower lid groove. See: Secret #353: Brad Pitt's Smiling Eyes - Sincere and Insincere Smiles.

Marine's mouth is pulled laterally in a classic fear expression. If her smile was genuine, the bottom teeth will not be visible. Unfortunately, this is a very common form of a social smile. It is clearly feigned. While a better variety of social smile or perhaps even a true, felt smile of joy-happiness may have been present a few moments before this image was captured, some event has occurred and/or someone has spoken - causing her to adopt a classic, fear-anxiety nonverbal display.

Ms. Le Pen is experiencing fear-anxiety. I wonder what Sarkozy is doing?

See also: Secret # 531: Sarkozy's Mouth Tells Us What He's Feeling


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1459: Geithner Gets His Alpha On

When a guy adjusts his cuffs or straightens his watch, it is the male analog of the more feminine nonverbal of the "Hair Adjust Behind the Ear" (HABE). Timothy Geithner, the U.S. Secretary of Treasury, is certainly an alpha male - but from time to time, even alphas need to dial it up a notch. The cuff or watch adjust is a body language signal showing that, in the moment, the psyche is attempting to be more assertive. The emotional tone is one of "assertive-anxiety".  Of course, the shirt cuff and a watch occasionally need adjusting, but the vast majority of time when men perform these gestures - they feel the need to be a less beta and a little more alpha. Certainly beta males will exhibit this and other "up-shifting" nonverbal behaviors more than alphas. It's not a measure of the person's overall personality, rather what the emotional brain is feeling in that moment.

See also: Secret # 1411: Dialing Up Her Alpha - Dana Perino

See also: Secret # 1209: Even Putin Has Anxiety - False Tie Adjust


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1450:
Rick Santorum's Contempt and Frown -
The Proverbial Twisted Smile

Rick Santorum is showing us a classic body language display of contempt in this image. Any unilateral smile is highly suspicious for this very toxic emotion. The "squinting" or partial closure of the former U.S. Senator's right eye is highly congruent with contempt and taken together with his unilateral "one-sided, pseudo-smile"- clinches this emotional diagnosis. Notice that neither of Santorum's lower eyelids have the required concave-up furrow characteristic of all sincere smiles (See Secret # 353: Brad Pitt's Smiling Eyes - Sincere and Insincere Smiles). Note also that the squinting lid and contempt-mouth findings occur on the same side of Santorum's face. 

What is most intriguing and a brilliant nonverbal tell here - is that the left side of Rick Santorum's mouth is frowning. The right side of his face is displaying contempt and left side of his face is signalling sadness. This is the proverbial "Twisted Smile".  Regardless of your speaking ability, your resume', your platform or your looks - you won't win votes or get people to follow your lead with this facial expression.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1491:
Barack Obama on Trayvon Martin -
"If I Had a Son, He'd Look Like Trayvon"

This video is an excerpt taken from a press briefing in The Rose Garden at The White House this morning in which President Obama announces his nominee for the new head of The World Bank - Dr. Jim Yong Kim -  who is standing at the President's right. During the announcement, President Obama was asked about Trayvon Martin - the Florida teen whose recent killing has stirred many. Although there are other body language tells in this video, I want to call attention to two in particular - the "Inward Lip Roll" (ILR) and the "Central Forehead Contraction" (CFC).

When one's central forehead muscles are contracted, leaving the sides (lateral portions) of the forehead relaxed, this is a very specific nonverbal signal of pain. This pain is either  felt directly - experience in the first person, or indirectly via empathy for another person, group of people or an animal(s). Another important aspect of the pain-associated with a CFC, is can be either physical pain or emotional pain. President Obama displays this body language several times during the video. At the 0:16 mark, there is a superb example of a CFC displayed very briefly in a "microexpression" when the President says, "....When I think about this boy ....". The CFC is again displayed - this time more prominently and for a longer duration at the 1:13 mark when Mr. Obama says, " .... But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin ...". President Obama, feels very real emotional pain for Trayvon's death and significant empathy for his parents.

Dr. Kim, the current Dartmouth College President, a physician and the former director of the World Health Organization's (WHO) HIV/AIDS department, is best seen very briefly at the beginning moments of this clip, and is also displaying the same central forehead contraction at the 0:02 - 0:03 mark. It's very good to see that someone who will probably head The World Bank displays such empathy. Green light this guy.

The Inward Lip Roll is a very common nonverbal signal of anxiety - but more specifically it is a signal of an effort to control the outward display of negative emotions. The psyche is attempting to put out emotional fires before they grow. The President is primarily reigning-in sadness. No good parent wants to even imagine the loss of their children and thus, though empathy, feels others' grief when they experience such a tragedy. Barack displays the ILR at several times though out this video: at the 0:11 mark (very subtle, with his lower lip, just after he says, "... I can only imagine what these parents are going through ... "), at the 0:17 - 0:18 mark (just before the President says, "... I think about my own kids..."), at the 1:12 mark (just prior to the CFC noted above, and the President saying, "... But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin ...") and at the 1:17 and 1:24 marks (just before and immediately after Mr. Obama says, "... You know, if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon ...").

We are primarily emotional creatures who dress ourselves up in a thin veneers of logic and intellect. The essence of the science of Nonverbal Communication - is the study of emotions and how they manifest in real time on the face and body. We are human beings first and foremost. If we happen to label ourselves Democrat or Republican, we have a fundamental need to see the emotion of sincerity displayed in our political leaders. When we do, we connect with them more. Unfortunately, too often a tragedy will serve as a platform for such an expression.

See also: Secret # 531: Sarkozy's Mouth Tells Us What He's Feeling


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1486:
Etch A Sketch, Romney & his Director of Communications -
Eric Fehrnstrom Gaffe

Eric Fehrnstrom is playing fast and loose with his similes. The director of communications for the Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, is much like the boy-hero in The Emperor's New Clothes. Anyone who remotely follows politics knows he was being completely accurate and honest in his analogy - he just shouldn't have said it aloud. I'm sure he thinks so now anyway.

A body language analysis of Fehrnstrom for the particular few moments yields some interesting details. At the 0:22 second mark, Fehrnstrom's central forehead contracts briefly just as he is about to say the words "'s almost like an Etch A Sketch ...". This evanescent and highly characteristic contracture of just the center forehead, is a microexpression for a signal of pain. Such pain may be either emotional or physical, directly experienced or via empathy. In Fehrnstrom's case it is emotional pain at the the idea of running towards the center for November. At the 0:23 second mark Mr. Fehrnstrom shows us another microexpression - this time for the emotion of contempt (on his left side). It resembles a very brief "mini-snarl". Fehrnstrom abhors the idea of "you can kind of ... shake it up and we start it all over again" - metaphorically reformatting Romney for the general election.

It's expensive being honest. Hans Christian Andersen and Eric Fehrnstrom were right. The emperor is naked. Aren't they all?

See also: Secret # 1407: Aboni Champion-Morin, Reunited with Kidnapped Son After 8 Years - 
Microexpression of Contempt


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1455:
Ann Romney, The Illinois Primary & Sincerity

A reliable sign of sincerity is displayed when the palms of the hands make contact with the chest during an expression "heartfelt" emotions (empathy expression). With both sexes, but more commonly and prominently with women, this "palmar touch" body language signal of sincerity - is accompanied by a forward (anterior) and to a lesser degree, slightly upward (superior) motion of the shoulders - giving the upper chest a temporarily "sunken in" appearance. This "nonverbal amplifier" adds further to, and projects more strongly the feeling of empathy. We don't know what Ann Romney was speaking about at this moment, but we do know she was sincere.

See also: Secret # 102: Palms vs. Fingers

Too often, only the tips of the finger/thumb touch - indicating feigned emotion.  See: Secret # 665: A Strong Sign of Insincerity

Ann and Mitt Romney are pictured here last night just after the former Massachusetts Governor won the Illinois Republican Primary.


Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1449:
Dr. Who, Jenna-Louise Coleman and Necklaces

Jenna-Louise Coleman is the new Dr. Who companion. Notice throughout most of this BBC interview, despite being an accomplished actress and accustomed to being in front of the camera, Ms. Coleman was holding and fidgeting with her necklace pendant. This nonverbal is similar to people self-touching on or near the area of the manubrium (upper portion of the sternum) in the top-central chest. It is performed with the tips of the fingers and thumb, and not with the palm of the hand (this has a different meaning). This necklace play/manubrial-touch is a very common body language tell for increased anxiety.


Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1446:
Tension in the Mouth -
Tension in the Hands

This is former U.S. Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate hopeful, Rick Santorum during a political rally recently in Illinois. Notice the tension in his hands and the corresponding tension in his mid-face and mouth. If there are negative facial emotional displays - there is a very high correlation with tension in the hands. They tend to strongly mirror each other. The reverse is also true. If the face is relaxed - the hands tend to be tranquil as well. This nonverbal tell is particularly valuable during negotiations, sales and in similar contexts. Frequenting cross-checking these two areas will help to nuance your body language interpretive skills.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1423:
Head First Affection &
Head Surrogate Hugs

When true affection is present during a hug, there should always be mutual touching of the heads. If such contact is lacking between these areas during an embrace - there is either a concurrent mental distraction or absence/waning affection. A partial exception applies when a child or person short in stature hugs an adult or another who is significantly taller. In such scenarios, the taller person's sincerity &/or mental focus should be (silently) called into question if they do not pick up a child or bend down in order to touch heads. Hugs and physical contact are rare enough - and certainly important enough, that great effort should be taken at such times for mental and emotional focus. This is body language tell is highly reliable and is virtually always accompanied by a bending/flexing of the neck - particularly in the taller participant of the hug.

Very intriguingly, when there is an outpouring of emotion - but when a person is momentarily "alone" and there is no other head to touch (or not possible) - we will nonverbally (and unconsciously) substitute - and use a "head surrogate" (see below).

The image above was taken shortly after the killing of three children and one Rabbi at the Jewish Secondary School, Ozar Hatorah, in Toulouse, France. Below, a woman mourns with her head against a hearse. The perpetrator of these horrific crimes is currently unknown, as the biggest manhunt in modern French history is underway. It is strongly believed that the same gunman has antisemitic, anti-Muslim, and racial motives and is also responsible for the recent killing of three French soldiers of North African heritage, two of whom were Muslim as well as seriously wounding another of French-Caribbean ancestry.

See also: Secret # 2: Hugs as a Measure of Affection and Impending Break-up

See also: Secret # 921: Gabrielle Giffords' and Barack Obama's Hug 

See also: Secret # 771: Ann's and Mitt's Affectionate Hug


Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1445:
Subordinate to Boss -
Hillary to Barack

What can we learn from this photo? Many nonverbal communication cues over the last three plus years have indicated that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, despite being former rivals - are now friends. Yet in this image of Barack and Hillary, the President's hand position, clasped behind his back, demonstrates his relative "alpha-status" and confidence compared with hers. Hillary's self-touching of her hands is classic and consistent with the act of asking a question from a relatively "beta point-of-view". These are two of of the most powerful people on the planet, however there is no doubt here who is the superior and who is the subordinate - and their nonverbal cues are entirely consistent with this pecking order. 

Our interpretation of their body language is obviously aided by our knowledge of Hillary's and Barack's relative positions, but in the everyday world of negotiation and similar discourse - those of "equal status" are in constant flux - and thus not always equal. Body language gives objective "tells" as to these strength and weaknesses that to most go unnoticed.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1443:
When Yawning means Something Else

We yawn when we're tired. We yawn when we're bored. Recent studies also suggest that one purpose of yawning may be to cool our brains. Most people are surprised to find out that yawning can be a signal of anxiety. Anxiety-related yawns tend not to last as long or be as deep as those that have their origins in fatigue. 

A similar body language signal is that of false-mastication (false chewing) - that is chewing when there is no food in the mouth. Often the insides of the cheek are "chewed" as well.

See also: Secret # 217: Predicting a Fight Based on Body Language


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1421:
Camilla's Surprise and Fear

Surprise is the most evanescent of all emotions. If it lasts for longer than a second or two, baring psychological shock, there is a significant feigned component present - and unfortunately perhaps the entire emotion is being forced. Another interesting characteristic of surprise - is that it is almost always followed rapidly by a different, second emotion - often this is anger, laughter, embarrassment and as Camilla has largely transitioned to here - that of fear. The Duchess of Cornwall has a bit of surprise remaining on her face - her eyes are opened wider than those of a normal, resting state. Eyes opened with this "white and wide" appearance, while there are some exceptions, are consistent with moderate-to-severe anger/rage, surprise or anger. Camilla's mouth is morphing from that of the dropped-jaw, mouth wide one of surprise - to that of the corners pulled back, one of fear.

The Duchess of Cornwall is watching jockey Richard Johnson being thrown from his horse during the Queen Mother Championship Chase at the Cheltenham Festival Horse Racing Meet. 


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1441:
George Clooney, Sudan and Foreheads -
A Sincere Smile Never Has This ...

Yesterday, George Clooney was arrested while protesting in front of the Sudanese Embassy. He was charged with the disorderly crossing of a police line. Only two days before he had dined with the President in the White House and testified before Congress regarding the mounting crisis in South Sudan

In the above image, during a casual moment at his congressional testimony, Clooney certainly displayed all the components of a sincere smile: partially/mostly closed eyes with the necessary concave-up furrow in each lower eyelid and an open mouth with only the top teeth showing. 

I want to call attention to George's forehead though. While there are some slight passive wrinkles in his forehead (Mr. Clooney is 50), there is no contraction of the actors forehead muscles. When the forehead does contract however, the tissue elevates and pulls the eyebrows up along with it (most don't realize that the eyebrows lower slightly during a sincere, joyful smile - although this is difficult to see dynamically). For a smile to reflect authentic happiness-joy, the forehead must be relaxed.

One common type of feigned smile, is the "false-surprise smile" aka the "dropped-jaw smile" (see Blake Lively example this: Secret # 133: Surprise or a Smile or Neither?) which is easy to spot because of the wide open mouth, elevated eyebrows and raised & furrowed forehead.

The take-home message: If the forehead is contracted, the smile is insincere. No matter what the rest of the face looks like - always evaluate the forehead.


Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1411:
Dialing Up Her Alpha -
Dana Perino

Former White House Press Secretary, Dana Perino is shown in this image displaying a specific MAP sub-type. The term "MAP" is an acronym for the body language synonyms, "Manipulators, Adaptors or Pacifiers". A MAP is nonverbal lingo for self-touching - and although their are exceptions, most MAPs indicate increased levels of anxiety. This "Hair Adjust Behind the Ear" (HABE) is no exception.

The hair-adjust-behind-the-ear is seen almost exclusively with women and gay men although straight men will occasionally display it (The HABE has several stereotypical male analogs - can you name any?). Specifically, when you see the HABE maneuver, the subconscious is calling on the psyche to "dial-up" the Alpha personality qualities (e.g. Less Beta and more Alpha).

Of course, sometimes one's hair needs to be adjusted and kept out of one's face - particularly long hair. Dana doesn't have long hair though - and the most of the time, even those with long hair who display this nonverbal, have momentary emotional tones consistent with the "dialing-up my alpha" need. Take mental notes of when you see this gesture - it will surprise you. It's as if the emotional mind is trying to be more assertive, and yet trying to stay composed. The HABE doesn't indicate that the person as a whole lacks confidence - it speaks only to one of the emotions being experienced at that moment.

A very consistent and valuable negotiation signal - the HABE is telling you another person perceives herself (at least momentarily) at a disadvantage, less confident, and a bit out of their element. 

Although MAPs do not indicate deception directly, it's well established that their frequency increases at times of deception - especially hand-to-face MAPs. Never self-touch, particularly your head and especially your face when speaking. While no one watching may have body language training or knowledge, audience members (even an audience of one) will perceive a speaker as less credible and/or less confident when they commit MAPs. Many are simply left with the feeling that "something doesn't feel right".


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1407:
Auboni Champion-Morin
Reunited with Kidnapped Son After 8 Years -
Microexpression of Contempt

In an very emotional interview on the Dr. Drew's HLN Show, Auboni Champion-Morin gives a tearful interview. At the time the show was recorded, she had not yet seen her son, Miguel, who was kidnapped 8 years ago when he was only 8 months old.  Near the very end of the video - at the 1:48 mark and again at 1:51, Ms. Champion-Morin displays two examples of a microexpression - that of contempt. Pay close attention to the LEFT side of HER face - a very brief "snarl" and flaring of her left nostril. Pause the video several times at these moments to get a better look. She is directing this very negative emotion (understandably) towards the kidnapper - her former friend and Miguel's babysitter, Krystal Rochelle Tanner.


Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1403:
Gustaf Gets Galled

King Carl XVI Gustaf is angry. What key cues can you spot? There are several that you shouldn't miss.

The most obvious (and somewhat less reliable) sign of anger is the drawing together and downwards of the Swedish Leader's eyebrows. If this were the only facial change we saw, then we also have to consider that Carl was perplexed or intensely concentrating. People in the midst of times of intense thinking are often mistaken for being angry. But as usual, there are other nonverbal cues available.

If you see an increase in exposure of the "whites of the eyes" (sclera) - three primary and common emotions (there are other less common ones though) should immediately spring to mind - anger (moderate to severe), fear and surprise. Note that in particular, the King's right eye has an increased "white and wide" appearance. However, even if we didn't observe this ocular body language, the tension we see in his "mustache area" is certainly driven by this negative emotion. Both of Gustaf's nostrils are flared - consistent with anger and disgust. In particular, the thinning of his lips is highly correlative with anger.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1212:
Invading Barack Obama's Personal Space

In this video, CBS sports announcer and former NBA player, Clark Kellogg interviews President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron at University of Dayton just prior to the Western Kentucky vs. Mississippi Valley State match up in the first round of March Madness (Western Kentucky won, 59-58). Notice how many times Kellogg puts his left hand on The President's right shoulder. It's rare that you'll see this repeated behavior directed towards a president or past president (or any other high ranking public office holder, CEO, celebrity, etc.) outside the confines of a close personal friendship and even then - not in a televised or public setting. In fact, the President himself reciprocates this touch - but only once - to Kellogg and then to Cameron as well. Kellogg knows Obama personally though, and what we're witnessing here is a subconscious bonding-rapport behavior - albeit excessive. Violations of personal space can quickly destroy rapport.

Another common body language explanation for excessive violation of personal space - is a dominance display, common with but not limited to that of narcissism/narcissistic personality disorder.

Not surprisingly, interpersonal space intrusions can also be a signal of affection and physical-romantic attraction

It is important to exclude medical causes when interpersonal space is chronically violated. Damage to a portion of the brain (amygdala), borderline personality disorder, sensory processing disorder and various other neuro-psycho-social disorders are all important considerations.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1287:
Barack Obama & David Cameron - Mirroring

We naturally and subconsciously mirror those who we like, admire and/or those with whom we want to develop rapport. Mirroring can also be used as a conscious and deliberate bonding and rapport-building tool, but care must be taken not to mirror the other person too exactly or too closely in time. Unfortunately, unless you are sure of the meaning of the signals you are mimicking - you may reflect back body language which is negative - and thus destroy rapport. 

Above, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron are strolling on the South Lawn of the White House. Below, they are taking in March Madness basketball in the first round of the NCAA tournament watching Western Kentucky edge Mississippi Valley State (59-58) in Dayton Ohio.

See also: Secret # 1239: Benjamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama and Iran


Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1270:
Quantifying a Smile -
Elizabeth Santorum

This is Elizabeth Santorum's sincere smile after she's held it bit too long (for which a politician or his daughter has many an occasion) and thus starts to display her bottom teeth. Ms. Santorum's eyes display the required (for a sincere smile) partial closure as well as the concave-up furrow on each lower lid (see also: Secret # 353: Brad Pitt's Eyes - Sincere and Insincere Smiles). Her forehead is relaxed and smooth without any muscle contraction - also a must for a sincere smile. Elizabeth's upper teeth are perfectly displayed which is also characteristic of the joy-happiness emotion - however the lower teeth are beginning to show. A few seconds before this photo, her lower teeth were covered. Her sincere smile has been held too long (externally displayed as well as emotionally-internally felt) and so it has "degraded" to an 80% sincerity level (still an outstanding "Social Smile" - and indeed much better than most). It now has to be partially forced - so the corners of the mouth pull a bit less upwards, and a bit more laterally.

If Elizabeth's mouth were the same as in this photo, but her eyes were open in a relaxed-resting state, her smile would be insincere. The partially closed eyelids with the concave-up furrow is a body language absolute when measuring the authenticity of a smile.

Rick Santorum sent Elizabeth, his eldest child, to Hawaii a couple days ago to campaign for him. The photogenic and articulate woman had her job cut out for her. Her father needs all the primary & caucus victories he can get. At the time of this post, the polls in the 50th State are not yet closed.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Dating & Romance Body Language Secret # 2020:
The Art of Looking Flirtatious

Natalie Portman has got a "come hither look" in this image (there are others). Her neck and head are flexed down and forward, and her head is also slightly turned (rotated). This configuration causes the eyes to have more of a "looking upward" appearance - thus making them look larger - which is a universal sign of beauty. When coupled with a slight (social) smile - this nonverbal cluster among other feeling, engenders nurturing and protective emotions in men. It is an extremely strong flirtation signal and virtually guarantees that the message is delivered to all but the slowest males.

See also: Secret # 33: Classically Flirtatious


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1213:
The Chronically Contracted Forehead

Do you remember when you were in third grade and you felt you had to put three or more exclamation marks at the end of each sentence in order to fully convey its meaning? Well - the person who has a chronically contracted forehead (not wrinkles, but active contraction of the forehead musculature) is nonverbally expressing the same quality. Certainly there are many times where contraction of the forehead is needed to express an emotion (e.g. the entire width of forehead during surprise and incredulity - and the central forehead for physical pain, emotional pain and empathy to site just a few examples). But if someone feels the need (subconsciously) to near-constantly contract their forehead musculature - there are strong elements of insincerity present (e.g. The entire forehead should always be relaxed during a sincere, joy-happiness smile). It's a body language signal of over-compensatory behavior


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1236:
Kofi Annan Does Not Believe

In this Image, Former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan does not believe what he is hearing. Self-touching fits into a class of body language behavior that are known as manipulators, adaptors or pacifiers (aka MAPs). MAPs in general (although there are exceptions) are signals of anxiety. When MAPs are displayed on the front (anterior) portion of the head/face, there is a significantly increased chance that the person is either hearing or is witnessing what he/she considers to be a lie. This is particularly true when one eye is rubbed, as the Nobel Peace Prize winner is doing (When two eyes are rubbed however, it has a completely different meaning).

Interestingly, the co-existing nonverbal cluster-combination we see here - the contracture and elevation of Mr. Annan's entire forehead, together with the one-eye rub - has an extremely high correlation with the witnessing of deception. The closing of the opposite eye, along with the downward (flexing) tilt of the head & neck, brings our conclusion of a lie-witnessing diagnosis to a virtual 100% confidence level.

See also: Secret # 1109: I Want to Wipe it from My Mind

See also: Secret # 1162: Ahmajinejad, Napoleon, al-Assad and Dominance

See also: Secret # 882: Bashar al-Assad's Chronic Insincerity 

Mr. Annan arrived in Syria today where he met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in an attempt stop the death and bloodshed of Syrian civilians. They are scheduled to meet again tomorrow. 


Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1289:
Ownership, Territory & Dominance -
Fire Hydrants and Fences

While the doors in the Oval Office are wider than normal, I'm not sure they are necessarily designed for two heads-of-state to walk through simultaneously. President Obama is nonverbally demonstrating dominance by awkwardly trying to lean and shuffle into HIS OFFICE, before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli leader is striding in much more casually. He's been there many times before and the Oval Office doesn't intimidate him. Territorial and ownership body language displays are not always fire hydrants and fences.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1267:
John McCain, Sarah Palin and Bell's Palsy


In this intriguing short video, CNN's Anderson Cooper asks Senator John McCain (R-AZ) about his former running mate, Sarah Palin - and her recent comments on participating in any possible open nomination process at the Republican convention this summer. At first glance, Senator McCain seems to display nonverbal signals of incredulity/doubt/disbelief - as his right eyebrow and forehead elevate repeatedly while his left side doesn't react much. 

Looking more carefully however, we can see where most of the entire left side of the former Presidential candidate's face is mildly (and in some places moderately - such as his forehead) consistently less reactive. Indeed, Mr. McCain's smile is even slightly asymmetric (when he smiles with his right side, the left corner of his mouth droops slightly). These are common manifestations of a peripheral cranial nerve VII palsy (the "Facial Nerve"). When all other possible causes of such palsies are excluded (thus referred to as a "diagnosis of exclusion") - this finding is commonly referred to as "Bell's Palsy". Other video of Senator McCain seems to validate a facial nerve palsy.

Although there are other nonverbal signals displayed by John McCain in this video, the valuable lesson here is - if one doesn't look at the whole face (and body), or bases the body language analysis on too small of a temporal "sample size", an erroneous conclusion often will be made.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1261:
True Surprise - Rarely Captured
IMF Director Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is captured here in a moment of true surprise. Sincere surprise is the most evanescent of all emotions, thus images of it are rarely captured. If surprise lasts longer than a second or two - there is usually a forced (feigned) component present. Surprise nearly always rapidly gives way to another emotion - very commonly, joy-laughter, anger, fear or embarrassment. Therefore, the lack of a second, quick, follow-up emotion - is another factor which should raise the suspicion of falsified surprise. Ms. Lagarde has all the facial components of surprise in this photo - the classic oval-round mouth opened with a dropped jaw, the contracted and elevated forehead (and thus has furrows across its entire width), raised eyebrows - and the most difficult to fake - widely opened eyelids. Many people will often insincerely try to express the emotion of surprise - however they rarely open their eyes in this "white and wide" manner.

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1253:
Peyton Manning's Bitter Smile

At a press conference yesterday with Colts owner, Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning displayed a classic "bitter smile" (Ekman) many times. It is an outward manifestation of the inner feelings of regret and bitterness. It's called a bitter smile because people think they're making a modest, albeit forced smile when the contour of their mouth really forms a concave-down curve (upside-down smile). It's a great example of just how unaware we all are of our nonverbal displays - particularly in real-time and when dealing with negative emotions. We all know the context of Manning's situation, and most find it very believable that he regrets leaving Indianapolis, so the emotion of regret-bitterness doesn't surprise us here. Yet, if we're truly observant, it is utterly amazing how often we will see this body language-facial display in our everyday lives'. The vast majority of the time though, people are completely oblivious to it or it's dismissed outright after very little reflection. The underlying emotional tone is identical to Manning's however - one of bitter-regret. How many times did you completely miss this expression today?


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1255:
Newt's Skepticism

Newt Gingrich is shown here in clear incredulity. Perhaps it's because he only won his home state of Georgia on Super Tuesday. What most people see when they first look at this photo, is the former Speaker's forehead contracted and elevated on his right side. This is a classic signal of disbelief. But what is less obvious - is Mr. Gingrich's right eye is opened widely while his left eye is slightly closed. This asymmetrical eyelid configuration is also a classic body language tell consistent with a skeptical emotional tone. Often these signs are much more subtle than Newt is showing us - but if others are displaying these nonverbals, disbelief is absolutely present - despite what their words may be saying.