Monday, April 30, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1770:
White House Correspondents' Dinner
Lindsay Lohan's Body Language


Over the weekend, at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner, comedian Jimmy Kimmel put on a fantastic show. Before the festivities began though (and Jimmy picked on Ms. Lohan and Kim Kardashian, among numerous others), many of the celebrities were interviewed. In this brief video, I want to contrast the body language of Lindsay Lohan (whom we don't hear, and is visible in another interview in the background) with Wolf Blitzer, the longtime CNN News anchor. 

Ms. Lohan appears at the 1:32 - 1:34 mark in a low-confidence, low-comfort fig leaf (aka genital guarding) configuration. While there are a few times this body language should be displayed e.g. in respect/deference & religious type settings, this is not one of them. It's not the way to attract quality leading lady scripts.

See also:
During the 1:35 - 1:36 segment, Lindsay displays a "Hair Adjust Behind Ear" nonverbal. This is a classic MAP (Manipulator, Adaptor, Pacifier) indicating anxiety - and this specifically with the HABE, the psyche is calling upon inner reserves to "dial-up" her alpha qualities. She's trying to be more assertive and more confident in the midst of, what for her is, an anxiety moment. 

See also:

During the 1:37 - 1:45 segment, the actress rubs her left arm with her right hand. This is another MAP and is a clear indicator of anxiety. Ms. Lohan is trying to comfort herself.

During the remainder of her time in this video, 1:45 - 2:03, the former child-star once again reverts back to the low confidence fig-leaf.

Blitzer, the long-time CNN anchor, uses the political-point (loose okay sign) to indicate confidence and rapport-building authority very well. His palm opens up to a relaxed-hand vertical and 45 degree-palms up configuration, indicating openness and confidence - another great illustrator of confidence and rapport. Note also that Wolf uses his "Thumbs-up" to point at Brooke Baldwin and Brianna Keilar (she displays a sincere smile at the 1:32 mark) - and thus exhibits both the very positive universal emblem of optimism (thumbs-up) while avoiding the forefinger (index finger) point which is highly offensive and rapport destroying the World over.

See also:

Secret # 1995: Barack Obama, Social Darwinism and the Political Point

Secret # 441: The Political Point - How Not to Use it


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1732:
Rationalization, Rapport, Empathy Expression
How Jewel got her name

At the 2:43 mark in this video, Jewel (Jewel Kilcher) displays a great example of the Rationalization-Rapport-Empathy-Expression (R2E2) - when discussing the origins of her name. It looks virtually identical to the disgust-contempt nonverbals. She is a fantastic musician, a giving philanthropist and a beautiful lady - and of course, very human. We all use the R2E2. 

Very often, when we rationalize to ourselves or others we use the R2E2 (note Jewel's use of the words/phrase, "... you know ..." and the accompanying tone of voice). Its use also helps in building rapport. Displaying this nonverbal can be a signal that empathy is being asked for as well. Thus this expression can be very useful in negotiation - although it must be displayed sparingly. If you want to see it used too often - a great setting is watching salespeople in action. When we are trying to win people over to our way of thinking, our subconscious will pull out this face for a second or two - although microexpression displays (lasting less than 0.5 second) of the R2E2 may occur as well. But be warned, for the R2E2 can also be a signal of manipulation (although certainly not in this particular example with Jewel). 

Very often there is feigned laughter, a leaning towards others (with the head or entire upper body) and/or a touching the other person's hand, arm or shoulder clustered together with this nonverbal. These additional body language components amplify and anchor the rapport effect of the R2E2.

When you see this body language displayed - it's always a sign that those using it believe that you (or they) are not fully convinced of their decision, thoughts or actions.

See also:

Secret # 705: Pseudo-Smiles and Bonding Beguiles

Secret # 1143: Santorum Video Analysis - R2E2 and other Tells


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1737:
Building Bridges or Walls
The Human Touch

A protester attempts to talk to a soldier guarding the Egyptian Defense Ministry in Cairo. It is a natural inclination to touch another when we are passionate on any issue - even if they're a stranger. While there are certainly times when touching another would be too much, send the wrong message and backfire - this is not one of them. It's a body language nuance to which few pay much attention or attempt to refine. Yet the few seconds when we touch someone, if done sincerely and in context, generates an extremely disproportionate amount of influence and rapport.

The Election for a new Egyptian President is expected to be held in July 2012.

See also:

Analysis # 1600: Senator Marco Rubio - Self-directed Incredulity & Humor, Blocking and Appeals for the Vice Presidency

Secret # 2: Hugs as a Measure of Affection or Impending Break-up

Secret # 703: Bad Handshake - Let Me Count the Ways

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

Secret # 483: Handshake on the 18th - Not so Fast


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1720:
Critical Evaluation, Disbelief & a Partial Emblematic Slip
Valérie Trierweiler & Francois Hollande

Valerie Trierweiler, a French political journalist, is shown in this image next to her partner and French Presidential candidate, Francois Hollande. She is displaying a classic critical evaluation cluster. Her thumb is supporting her chin, her ring and fifth finger are adjacent to her mouth, and while her index finger is not visible (behind her ear piece, perhaps retracted) her middle finger is well on display in a partial emblematic slip - subconsciously directed to whom she is listening.

An emblem is a body language signal, the meaning of which is well understood within a specific region or country. However, very often an emblem in one country has a completely different meaning in another country - so one must be very careful in their interpretation and usage. Some emblems are universal though - and such is the case with the middle finger display. When a partial emblem is used - nearly always in a subconscious manner, it is used in an unconventional location - here on the side of the face rather than in its more obvious (and fully conscious) conventional location.

Note also that Ms. Trierweiler's left eyebrow and forehead are elevated (her right side is relaxed) - indicating her disbelief in what she is seeing and/or hearing.

Other common signs often seen as components of this cluster (but not seen in this particular example) include: the fourth and/or fifth fingers covering her mouth (an even stronger disagreement with what is said and/or suspecting deception), if the opposite arm were crossing her stomach or chest (defensiveness & closed mindedness) and/or if she were leaning back in her chair (withdraw).


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1717:
Why is Yawning Contagious?
What is its connection to Autism?
and Empathy?

It is long been known that seeing another yawn will bring others to yawning. Even seeing a picture of someone yawning or reading about someone yawning will elicit this behavior. It even works across species. Dogs yawn after a stranger yawns at a significantly higher frequency. One proposed reason for this "contagion" is the presence and function of mirror neurons. 

Mirror neurons can be thought of as "empathy neurons". A concentration of mirror neurons are located in the inferior frontal gyrus and the inferior parietal lobe (although there may be other areas yet elicited) and collectively are referred to as the Mirror Neuron System (MNS). When we see another cry, it is easier for us to cry. When we see another laugh, we tend to laugh much more. It's mirror neurons that largely (perhaps entirely) allow us to mimic others' behavior. The NMS is also probably is a key component in language development. Incredibly interesting research (Norscia & Palagi) shows that the contagion of a yawn - is transmitted at a higher rate the closer they are psycho-socially related to us. We yawn more often when family members yawn, less so when friends yawn, acquaintances even at a lower percentage and strangers the least often. We "infect" others with our behavior the more empathy we have for them

Young children with autism spectrum disorder will yawn less often (and even drops below their baseline yawning frequency) than other children without ASD. This is consistent with the empathy-requirement aspect of contagious yawning and with the diminished amount and/or function of the mirror neuron system with autism.

Some theorize that their are several different subtypes of mirror neurons. While the relative lack/health of one subtype may be related to ASD, disorders of other types may be correlated to narcissistic personalty disorder, sociopathy-psychopathic behaviors. One day in the relatively near future, I believe we will be able to quantify these subtypes and correlate them with different diseases/disorders. The next logical step will be to up-regulate gene expression or even selective transplanting of these mirror neuron subtypes into people who need them.


Romance, Flirting & Dating
Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1752:
Wearing Red and Sexual Attraction
What are You Marketing?

Many studies have shown that woman who wear red, are perceived as more attractive. Women wearing red, are also thought by men, to be more sexually receptive to their advances compared with those wearing other colors. It's not surprising that men also think that women who they believe are sexually receptive are also more attractive. Studies also suggest that women who wear red, tend to be more interested in sexual encounters.

These flight attendants of Austrian Airlines wear red as part of their uniform. Along with white, it is also the primary color of the airlines, their planes and the Austrian flag. In the context of flight attendants' uniforms though, wearing red certainly has other marketing advantages. You may or may not agree with the practice of these and other somewhat subliminal (sometimes much more obvious) techniques - but your biology doesn't care. Sex sells.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Nonverbal Communications Analysis # 1715:
Jay Carney's Lip Purse
Bin Laden is Dead & General Motors is Alive

In this video, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, responds to CBS correspondent, Peter Maer, when he asked about the possible politicizing of the death of Osama Bin Laden. This was in response to Vice President Joe Biden's recent speech in New York City, when he said, "Bid Laden is Dead and General Motors is alive". Carney exhibits many body language tells in this video segment, however I want to highlight one in particular - the Lip Purse. These are seen at 0:03, 0:11 (don't confuse with "lip pout" seen at 0:12), 0:19 and 0:23 - 0:25. All except the last are very brief and some are evanescent enough to be classified as microexpressions.

Pursing of the lips is a signal of disagreement and consideration of alternative action. However the vast majority of the time, those displaying the lip purse will either very minimally voice their differing opinion (or say nothing at all) - compared to what they are really feeling-thinking. I call this "Iceberg Disagreement" - because most of it is hiding beneath surface.

When you see the lip purse, those using it also believe they're in a relative position of power. In this example, Jay Carney (and anyone else who displays it) believes he's the most powerful alpha in the room. If the president or the attorney general walked in - he wouldn't use this nonverbal. Betas don't use it unless they're in the vicinity of lesser betas - ergo a temporarily & relative alpha.

In a business setting, court room or when negotiating - if you see members of the "other team" using the lip purse, it's a body language signal of clandestine disagreement - and opinion/plan different than yours. They most definitely believe they hold the upper hand as well. Be prepared for the unexpected. You may not see it immediately, or it may not be obvious. If a person knows some strategic information of which you're not aware, and they wield power that you don't have - it's very likely that they intend to - and will act on it.

See also:

Analysis # 1515: Jay Carney's numerous microexpressions and subtle displays of contempt


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1711:
Charles Taylor, Sierra Leone, Blood Diamonds
and the Double Shhh! Sign

Charles Taylor, a previous President of Liberia, was found guilty today by the United Nations International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Sierra Leone's Civil War. At the end of this short video segment (0:27 - 0:33), Taylor is seen displaying what some refer to a variant of the pistol steeple, aka the Double Shhh! Sign (DSS).

A true (pure) pistol steeple which is held lower - in front of the chest or stomach - and pointed towards others (as one may hold a handgun) - sheds light on the coexisting primarily alpha-agressive emotional tone (although there often is a defensive component present - see: Analysis # 1705: Francois Hollande & the French Presidential Election - The Pistol Steeple and Emotional Dissonance). The DSS however, is held in front of the mouth with the index fingers pressed against each other and the lips - and is almost entirely a beta-protective symbol. This "Double Shhh" is somewhat similar to the entire (or majority of the) hand covering the mouth in time of surprise, shock, and disbelief - however the DSS does not have an empathy component as does someone who suddenly covers their mouth with most/all of their hand.

See also:

Secret # 221: Spontaneous Mouth Covering and Empathy

Analysis # 1531: Hillary Clinton Describing the U.S. Navy SEAL raid on Osama Bin Laden

Secret # 21: Surprise + Fear + Empathy

Those displaying the double shhh! sign are worried about themselves. When others cover their mouths using all the digits or the whole hand - they may be in part worried about themselves, but there is nearly always a large component of empathy present (one exception being during moments of embarrassment). Both body language signals show that the brain is emotionally processing a new and often very sudden event(s). Charles Taylor, is trying to emotionally digest that he was just found guilty of 11 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1709:
Peyton Manning's Agent Does Not Fully Believe

Tom Condon, a "super-agent" in the NFL world, has significant doubts as to whether Peyton Manning is healthy enough, fully healed and able to fill his new roll as starting quarterback with the Denver Broncos. He didn't say this with his words - but his body language gave us a view into his real feelings.

Just after Charlie Rose asked Condon about Peyton Manning, the agent displays a brief (just a bit longer than a microexpression) Inward Lip Roll (ILR) at the 3:46 mark. This is a very reliable signal of anxiety - and more specifically, a sign of "holding in" negative emotion.

Mr. Condon also looked down and to his right when discussing Peyton Manning and his health. Looking in this right-lower quadrant, has a significant correlation with highly emotional issues - when the speaker is right handed. Tom Condon cares about his client, but he also has significant emotional concern here. I'm not saying he's lying, but Condon's gut is telling him that Peyton's injury may prevent him from the expected level of performance - he's worried.

See also:  

Secret # 171: A Subtle Sign of Sadness

Secret # 1499: Bill Clinton's Empathy for Eric Fehrnstrom and Mitt Romney - What's your Sincerity Quotient?

Incredulity is displayed by Condon's left eyebrow and forehead elevation. This nonverbal is easy to see just after Mr. Rose poses his question - during the 3:51 - 3:55 segment. Also seen at the 3:51 mark, Mr. Condon displays an extended (much longer than a normal blink) bilateral eyelid closure - and in this context it's an indicator that he is psychologically wanting to "escape" from the question and/or issue and block them from his mind.

See also:

Secret # 412: Newt Gingrich is Incredulous

Secrets # 335 & 353: Incredulous with Contempt - Amanda Know Redux

Secret # 67: Incredulous Cluster

Secret # 1697: George Zimmerman's Testimony - Fear, Incredulity, Regret & Contempt

Notice also that Mr. Condon never answered Charlie Rose's question. He spoke about Peyton's commitment, how hard he's working, other people's assessment of Manning's health, etc. - but he never said anything definitive. Condon sounded like a politician here. Contrasting his body language and verbal tone of excitement to other parts of the conversation e.g., when discussing (with a good "social smile") Andrew Luck going to the Indianapolis Colts or Robert Griffin (even Joking) to the Redskins - contrasts greatly compared with the discussion of Manning. We can see the hesitancy in his face and hear it in his voice.

Condon was glad to have the interview end - for when Charlie Rose said, "It's going to be a great season...", (4:26 mark) is when we see the agent's face change and six components of a sincere smile quickly emerge - partial closure of the eyelids, a concave-up furrow in the lower lids, a trace lowering of the eyebrows, a relaxed forehead,  upward pulling cheeks and a mouth smile with only his upper teeth visible.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1705:
North Korean Statues of Kim Jong-il & Kim Il-sung

On 15 April 2012, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of his birth (born on the exact same day and year the R.M.S. Titanic sunk), statues of Kim Il-sung and his successor-son, Kim Jong-il were unveiled with great ceremony and celebration.

It's interesting to look at these statues from a body language point-of-view. Kim Il-sung (his likeness on our left), the father - has his feet slightly further apart than his son. This wider stance signifies confidence and his being slightly more so, also dominance over his son, Kim Jong-il. The designer/scupturer should have widened their stance a bit more however (slightly more than shoulder's width for the father and the son slightly less) - if indeed the goal was to demonstrate alpha dominance to the rest of the World.

See also:

Secret # 441 : Bill Clinton's Rapport and His Temporary Universe

Secret # 337: Low Confidence Stance

Kim Il-sung's right hand is oriented palm-in, and perpendicular to the ground. Had his hand been palm-down with an out-stretched arm, this would have been very close to the Nazi salute. While pointing with the whole hand is much more refined and fostering than pointing with a single finger - the North Koreans would have been better advised to have Il-sung's hand oriented palm up, fingers slightly curled and loose, with his elbow bent about 20 degrees. Such a nonverbal cluster would have been a better blend of alpha-beta as well as confidence/assertiveness. This would have "softened" his posture significantly, while looking more like a benevolent leader.

See also:

Secret # 222: Palms Up vs. Palms Down

Secret # 1059: Santorum's Dominant Spider

Secret # 1553: Ann & Mitt Romney's Body Language at NRA Meeting

Secret # 793: The Finger Point - A Rare Exception

The left arm of both Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il are each posed in variations of "Arms-Akimbo". Both are rather beta versions though. Il-sung's thumbs-forward-akimbo sends nonverbal messages of support and nurturing. Hugh Grant is an actor who often uses this thumbs-forward variant to engender these feelings. The most common place you'll see this though is on the playground - with the mothers (and some fathers) looking after their young children.

See also:

Secret # 33: Thumbs Forward Arms Akimbo

Secret # 831: Santorum's Hands and the Alpha-Beta Hybrid

Secret # 14: High Confidence and Low Confidence Drivers - Arms Akimbo and Assertive Attitudes

Secret # 89: Opposite Facing Arms Akimbo

Kim Jong-il's left hand arms akimbo is perhaps the least common permutation. His open palm is faced outward with the back (dorsal) aspect of his wrist making contact with his hip. This is somewhat effeminate and also common in the elderly as people with weak or painful backs are often seen in displaying this nonverbal. It also can be seen in the lackadaisically minded. This is certainly not a body language signal which exemplifies strength.

Both former North Korean leaders' akimbo oriented arms are situated posterior (in back of) to the plane of their torsos. This is also a modification which makes akimboed arms more beta and less alpha.

If I were repositioning each of their arms, I would have placed Kim Jong-il's clasped loosely behind his back (palm-to-open palm). Kim Il-sung's left arm I would have placed in arms-akimbo - only instead the thumbs backward variety and with the plane of his arm oriented within the plane of his torso (see above for a more desirable position of Il-sung's right arm). Yet another variation would be perhaps to have the younger Kim with his right hand raised up to his eyebrows, shielding the sun's rays and looking to where his father was pointing. His current pose suggests a bit of apathy. Any of these variations would have been more confident and more alpha than what we see exampled in these images.

Another message sent here is the closed-off nature of their clothing. When taking into account local and temporal fashion trends, it is well documented that dictatorial rulers rarely reveal their upper, central chest (manubrial area, just beneath the base of the neck) and have tight collared shirts and jackets. This tight-necked, closed-off clothing mirrors their closed societies over which they rule.

See also: Secret # 991: Closed Minds and Closed Necks - A Nonverbal Metaphor for Oppression 

These visual metaphors were made at much expense, and sending signals for which their designers didn't remotely intend.


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1705:
François Hollande & the French Presidential Election
The Pistol Steeple and Emotional Dissonance

François Hollande won the first round of French Presidential elections over the weekend. The incumbent, Nicholas Sarkozy finished second by about 1.5% (eight other candidates were eliminated). The two will meet in a run-off election on May 5 &6 to determine the next leader of France.

See also:  

Secret # 531: Sarkozy's Mouth Tells Us What He's Feeling
Secret # 493: Contrasting David Cameron and Nicholas Sarkozy - Alpha & Beta Behavior

Secret # 743 & 744: Sarkozy's Shhhh! - and a Partial Emblematic Slip

Mr. Hollande displays a "Pistol Steeple" (aka "Handgun Steeple") in this recent image. This variation of the steeple gesture is a great example of emotional dissonance. If all his fingers were interlocked, it would be a purer (and much more beta) body language symbol. This nonverbal sends mixed messages though. With the two forefingers steepled, this gesture indicates a significantly higher alpha emotional tone. It would be wise if Francois would use this gesture on rare occasions and only for a second or two - since it is also an amalgam of the double index finger point. The handgun steeple is patronizing and condescending. This effect is amplified when the hands/arms are moved up and down in a chopping motion - and further dialed up with higher and faster movements.

Only those who view themselves as superior (see below) will use this variation pistol steeple. Accordingly, in political settings it tends to be used only in front of very friendly crowds (lest it backfire) - but it's still not recommended.

A further variant of the pistol steeple (aka the Double Shhh! Sign - and not exampled by here Hollande, See: Analysis # 1711: Charles Taylor, Sierra Leone and the Double Shhh! Sign) is used in front of the mouth, with the two forefingers (index fingers) pressed up against the lips. While this may look similar, its position connotes an entirely different meaning.

See also:

Secret #349: Pointing with Two Fingers (or More)

Secret # 1224: Two Handed Index Finger Point

Secret # 1233: Putin's Pen Point

Since most of the fingers are interlocked - and thus this is a type of MAP (manipulator, adaptor or pacifier), the pistol steeple also demonstrates the presence of defensiveness, closed-mindedness and beta-feelings. While these are not the primary emotions expressed (or felt) in this moment, they do play a role in the mind and subsequent actions of those expressing it. When the elbows are held closer to the sides of the body, these beta traits are amplified. If the elbows are further out - the beta component drops (note Mr. Hollande is intermediately positioned).

The pistol steeple therefore expresses emotional dissonance. There are both alpha and beta feelings present. If you see this signal, particularly in the work place or in the context of a relationship, it is a warning sign.

See also:

Analysis # 1650: Ozzie Guillen Gets Suspended By Miami Marlins Team President

Secret # 1143: Santorum Video Analysis - R2E2 and Other Tells


Monday, April 23, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1600:
Senator Marco Rubio -
Sincerity, Self-directed Incredulity & Humor, Blocking and Appeals for the Vice Presidency

This is a funny and yet instructive video. In the first segment, Senator Marco Rubio says, "...three, four, five, six, seven years from now - if I do a good job as Vice President ..." The Senator then immediately realizes his mistake. At the 0:07 mark, Senator Rubio displays a classic microexpression of incredulity - showing us a glimpse into his emotional mind - for he is in disbelief at what he just said. His left forehead and left eyebrow both elevate - while the right side of Mr. Rubio's face remains unchanged. This evanescent body language lasts less than 0.5 of a second.
During the 0:07 - 0:11 segment, Senator Rubio then reaches out and touches the forearm of his interviewer. While virtually all politicians violate others' personal space and indeed touch too much - thus destroying rapport more than building it - particularly during variations of the political handshake - Rubio's touch here is one of high sincerity. The psyche (via his hand) is literally "reaching out" in an effort to try and retrieve his mistake. When people touch in a deliberate and delayed fashion however, it demonstrates that consciousness is most likely directing their actions. The Senator's gesture occurred very quickly though - and in this context it shows us his subconscious was in charge.

Marco Rubio's subconscious is honest - as is yours.

Additionally Rubio's laugh and smile are very sincere - his eyes are closed or nearly so (with the required concave-up crescent present in both lower lids) after misspeaking. Also, only Marco's upper teeth are visible - another touchstone of authenticity. His eyelids demonstrate an extended closure too - which is common after misspeaking in a public forum. In such settings, this nonverbal indicates sincere embarrassment and the emotional processing of an event.
Marco Rubio noticeably blushes as well - and of course such body language can't be feigned. The freshman Senator just won over some more constituents - for humor, particularly when sincere and self-deprecating, humanizes us all.


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1698:
Susan Rice, Bashar Ja'afari &
Kofi Annan's Six Point Peace Plan for Syria

In this Video of United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice and her Syrian Counterpart, Bashar Ja'afari, some very instructive body language signals are seen. Overall, Ambassador Rice displays very good use of her hands. Her use of the particular "Illustrator" - the "Basketball Steeple" - at the very beginning of this segment, is relatively underutilized by stateswomen/statesmen, attorneys, the politically minded or those in business. It engenders the allusive persona of confidence and strength without arrogance. Later in the video (2:21 - 2:26), Ambassador Ja'afari, in a poor attempt at the basketball steeple, gives it too much of a vertical component while also moving too fast - and thus loses rapport while demonstrating his adamant emotional mindset.
At the 0:16 - 0:19 mark, Ms. Rice gesticulates with another illustrator - a "Loose Fist Thumbs Up" configuration. It is considerably less provoking than a closed, thumb-pointed-down-fist. This variation sends the emotional message of confidence and determination without the anger of the traditional fist. It is without a doubt an alpha body language signal, and can be overused. Rice, however, uses it like a scalpel - during a brief and very strategic time in her speech - when she is driving home the importance of Syria complying with "...item two..." of Kofi Annan's Six Point Peace Plan for Syria.

The U.S. Ambassador, during the 0:36 - 0:38 segment, uses the "Pseudo-Prayer" nonverbal with the up-and-down chopping motion - from which she should immediately refrain. The pseudo-prayer (particularly with the chop component), in most cluster contexts, sends signals of patronizing and condescending emotions and as it is doing here - and works to destroy rapport.

See also: Secret 1181: Helle Thorning-Schmidt & Her False Praying Gesture

At the 0:46 - 0:48 mark, Ms. Rice adjusted her left cuff and watch with her right hand just as she finishes the statement, "... I can't imagine how the Syrian Ambassador, who wasn't in the room, could accurately characterize what was said ..." This is a common nonverbal signal of "Dialing Up One's Alpha". It is commonly displayed by alpha personalities and is somewhat more commonly seen in males. It's as if the person is calling on their psyche for a bit more assertiveness at certain moments. Prince Charles does this quite a bit.

See also:
Secret # 121:  Mubarak, King Abdullah and Netanyahu
Secret # 1459: Geithner gets his Alpha on

Susan Rice's thumb and forefinger (index finger) are separated by about 2-3 centimeters at the 0:58 mark as she gestures and speaks about a "... brief positive step ...". This nonverbal signal is seen when there is hesitancy, uncertainty or ambivalence - but also for its more obvious meaning of "a little bit".

See also: Secret # 1559: Timothy Geithner on "Face the Nation"

Bashar Ja'afari, uses a vertical hand chop from 0:39 - 0:49 and again at 2:48 - 2:56. This is a confident, alpha illustrator - but Mr. Ja'afar's chop has an exaggerated height and speed component - belying his adamant emotions. Along with his mid-face tension - particularly nasal flaring (throughout the majority of his segment in this video) - are body language tells which signify anger as well as a component of disgust.

At the 2:04 through 2:06 mark, Mr. Ja'afari gives three palm-down gestures in rapid succession. While his fingers are open during these illustrators (thus watering down the full effect), palm-down gestures are ill-advised, since audiences receive them negatively and will alienate even those who have supported one's cause.

See also: Secret # 222: Palms Down vs. Palms Up

When asked, "When are going to comply with this?", Ambassador Ja'afari steps back as he answers, "We have already complied." - a strong tell of defensiveness. Richard Nixon did something very similar during a famous denial.

See also: Secret # 323: I am Not a Crook!

During most of his segment on this video, Bashar Ja'afari speaks out of the side of his mouth. While this could be normal for him, it is somewhat unusual - particularly because his skewed mouth configuration changed sides during this video. Speaking asymmetrically - out of the side of the mouth should raise strong concern for insincerity and/or co-existing contempt.

See  also: Secret 1163: The Importance of "Norming" in the Evaluation of Body Language


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1697:
Facial Hair, Politics and Athletes
Phil Humber Pitches a Perfect Game

Phil Humber of the Chicago White Sox pitched a perfect game yesterday in a 4-0 win against the Seattle Mariners. It was just the 21st such game in the history of the major leagues. Facial hair on a politician is a bad thing - but on pitchers - a beard, mustache or goatee is a distinct advantage. The last U.S. President to have any facial hair was elected in 1908 (William Taft).

See also:
Secret # 337: Facial Hair, Trust and Politics.

Secret # 39: Facial Hair and Perception

Percentages of Men with facial hair:

U.S. Senators - 1.2%
State Governors - 6.8%
U.S. House of Representatives - 10.8%
U.S. Male Population - 33%
World Male Population - 50%
Perfect Game Pitchers in the last 40 years - 83%

The higher the political office, the less electable are men who have facial hair. Voters strongly prefer men who are clean shaven - for this sends nonverbal signal of trust. Pre-verbal children will even prefer their fresh shaven fathers over the previously recent "hairy" versions. Somewhere deep in our body language instinct - is embedded a relative distrust of those men with facial hair.

Photographs of freshly-arrested men have a much higher percentage of beards, goatees and mustaches as well.

Jurors also tend to convict at a higher rate when men have hair on their faces.

Success in sports is not based on trust though - it's largely based on mindset and intimidation. In many sports, it's to your advantage to look mean, scruffy and unkempt. This is certainly true of baseball pitchers.

I wish I had been in Seattle yesterday watching your fastball. Congratulations Phil Humber - on your perfect game and your new baby.


Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1697:
George Zimmerman in Shackles -
How does this Alter His Body Language,
Testimony and Our Perception?

From a body language point-of-view, Mr. Zimmerman should not have his arms or hands bound while in court. If he had the full use of these, any facial touching or other Manipulators, Adaptors or Pacifiers (aka MAPs) would signal anxiety - and along with many other nonverbals, these would give greater insight into any guilt or innocence. A significant portion of the value of an in-person testimony is lost by shackling him. 

Additionally, we are placing anyone who testifies in hand-cuffs, shackles, etc. - in a situation which would cause any person to have great anxiety. By making Zimmerman, or anyone else testify in such a state, we engender anger, contemptuousness, fear, etc. - all of which he manifested in short video in yesterday's post (see Secret # 1696: George Zimmerman's Testimony). This premise is true of an innocent man as well as a guilty one. Thus we alter the situation causing someone to look more guilty than they otherwise would.

The opposite scenario is true as well. During the swearing-in process, if one is not allowed to lift their left hand high, rather only a third as high as they normally would (seen in this video during the 0:54 - 0:58 marks) - he/she will feel less obligated to tell the truth. It's the equivalent of a child's behavior of crossing their fingers behind the back when making a promise. 

Keeping people partially bound changes the way people behave and are perceived - and it's a dis-service to the legal process in both directions. If we strive to keep the justice system truly impartial, these are important considerations.

See also:

Secret # 1491 Barack Obama on Trayvon Martin ...."If I had a Son, He'd look like Trayvon"

Secret # 1548: Trayvon Martin's Death - George Zimmerman's First Court Room Appearance


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1696:
George Zimmerman's Testimony -
Fear, Incredulity, Regret & Contempt

In this video segment of George Zimmerman, he apologizes to the Parents of Trayvon Martin. Much of Zimmerman's face was blocked during this portion of the video, so a nonverbal analysis for these few seconds is not possible. 

During the remainder of the video Mr. Zimmerman showed multiple expressions of incredulity - most notably at 0:25, 1:11, 1:20, 1:50, 1:57 and 2:29. George Zimmerman biases this emotion to the left side of face - manifested by a unilateral raising of the forehead and eyebrow. At the 1:20 mark, this disbelief is accompanied by contempt - marked by a brief, unilateral raising of the mouth corner and nostril dilation as well as mid-face tightening. Contempt was also displayed at the 1:24 mark (this time on his right side). The expressions of contempt seen here are great subtle examples of body language - and particularly the microexpression seen at the 1:20 mark. 

Zimmerman exhibited anger at the 0:46 and the 2:10 mark with a lowering and pulling together of his medial eyebrows and mid-face tension. The 2:10 mark in particular shows a moderate example of nostril flaring. These are subtle-to-moderate examples. 

George Zimmerman demonstrated fear at the 0:23 mark and at 0:57 also - with the "white and wide" appearance of his eyes. At the 0:57 mark, he also displays some mouth configurations that are consistent with regret (a lateral pulling, with almost no upwards component). 

The microexpression/near-microexpression of pursed lips is seen at the 1:15 mark. This body language along with his very briefly looking up to his right (1:33) when asked about a past event, indicate that Mr. Zimmerman may not be telling a complete or truthful version of his recollections at these particular moments.

See also:

Secret # 1491 Barack Obama on Trayvon Martin ...."If I had a Son, He'd look like Trayvon

Secret # 1548: Trayvon Martin's Death - George Zimmerman's First Court Room Appearance


Friday, April 20, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1695:
Body Language Expert Patti Wood's
Evaluation of George Zimmerman's
most Recent Court Appearance
with Additional Evaluation

This is an excellent body language analysis of George Zimmerman's Nonverbals by another Body Language Expert - Patti Wood. Patti astutely points out some microexpressions in Zimmerman's facial expressions.

I would also add that Zimmerman's eyes were very widely opened from 0:18 - 0:46, indicating an increased activity of sympathetic nervous system and increased levels of adrenaline. In this context, this "White and Wide" configuration of his eyes indicates fear.

Zimmerman's eyelids come together and his central eyebrows lower and come together - at the 0:58 mark in the Clip - in an excellent example of a microexpression of anger. This is very fleeting and lasts less than 0.5 of a second. A slowed down modification of this same segment is seen at the 1:41 time mark.

At the 2:23 mark, Zimmerman retracts his head downward (think of a turtle trying to protect itself) and closes his eyes (wanting to erase the pain, a form of psychological blocking - he's emotionally processing his pain). A split second afterwards, Zimmerman again opens his eyes extra-widely in a microexpression of fear.

See also:

Secret # 1491 Barack Obama on Trayvon Martin ...."If I had a Son, He'd look like Trayvon

Secret # 1548: Trayvon Martin's Death - George Zimmerman's First Court Room Appearance


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Body Language Analysis # 1659:
Leon Panetta on the
U.S. Military Scandals in Afghanistan

Leon Panetta, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, is being asked a question by Wolf Blitzer regarding some of the U.S. Military misbehavior in Afghanistan in this video. During the entire length of this clip (with the exception of the 0:25 - 0:26 time marks, in which the entire width of his forehead is involved), Panetta's central forehead is contracted and heavily furrowed - while it's lateral aspects are relaxed. This particular body language signal is highly consistent with physical or emotional pain. Such pain may be experienced directly or indirectly via empathy. The Defense Secretary feels deep and sincere emotional pain regarding these events.

See also:

Secret # 1439: Central Forehead Contraction and Inward Lip Roll - Devon & April Davis

Secret # 1213: The Chronically Contracted Forehead

Secret # 617: Ginger White & Herman Cain

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

Secret # 1491: Barack Obama on Trayvon Martin .... "If I had a Son, He'd look like Trayvon"

Secret # 1486: Etch a Sketch, Romney and Eric Ferhnstrom Gaffe

Secret # 355: A Sign of Physical Pain