Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2098:
Mamihlapinatapai - We've all seen it and displayed it

Mamihlapinatapai (sometimes spelled mamihlapinatapei) is a Yaghan word (from the Yagán people of Tierra del Fuego) and is considered by many to be one of the most succinct words in the human experience. It means: "a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other will offer something that they both desire but are unwilling to suggest or offer themselves." Experienced by us all, it is a body language display which often applies in potential  romance or flirting but it's also a common nonverbal displayed when someone is in need of help while others may watch and hesitate to come to their aid. 

See also:

Romance, Dating & Marriage - Body Language Secret # 1500: Six Degrees? Leaning In, Head Touching and the Manubrium - Kyra and Kevin are 10th Cousins, Once Removed

Dating & Romance Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1097: Looking at Carla's Legs

Romance, Flirting & Dating Body Language Secret # 1893: Nonverbal Communication of the Facial Platter

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

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

Romance, Marriage and Dating - Body Language Secret # 609: Going from High Heels to Flats and then back to Heels

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1916: Katie Holmes & Tom Cruise are getting a Divorce -  What Body Language Metric Predicted This?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2: Body Language of Blake Lively and Penn Badgley Strongly Suggests an Impending Break-up in Near Future

Dating & Romance Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1010: What Makes the Twinkle in Her Eye?


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2099:
Nikki Haley & Sarah Palin - Governors in Contrast

Nikki Haley, the current Governor of South Carolina (left) and Sarah Palin, the previous Republican Vice Presidential candidate and past Governor of Alaska are pictured here at a campaign event. Haley has a sincere smile although it was held too long and thus her bottom teeth are beginning to show. Note also her partially closed eyelids, the concave-up furrows in each lower eyelid, and her relaxed forehead - all required of a sincere, Duchenne smile (Ekman).

Palin's face is one of moderate disgust. This is characterized by her tight and raised upper lip, the tightened area above the upper lip (aka the "mustache area" regardless of sex), her flared nostrils and her mildly wrinkled chin. Palin's facial expression is in strong dissonance with her "friendly" (feigned) waving nonverbal as well as Haley's body language. Sarah's hand waving is conscious and deliberate act while her facial expression - is unconsciously displayed and betrays her true emotional tone.

See also:

Analysis # 2019: Sarah Palin's "Co-Hosting" on the Today Show - She Fears Romney's Candidacy 

Analysis # 1267: John McCain, Sarah Palin and Bell's Palsy

Analysis # 54: The Manubrial Touch Betrays Our Feelings - Sarah Palin's Mistake

Analysis # 703: Bad Handshake? Let me count the ways!

Analysis # 1841: Disgust in Response to Rep. Barney Frank's "Hoodie" Joke

Analysis # 1496: Tiger Woods' Disgust & Biofeedback

Analysis # 1552: The Self-Righteous Head Wiggle & The Buffett Rule 

Analysis # 353: Brad Pitt's Smiling Eyes - Sincere and Insincere Smiles


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis #2097:
Mitt Romney's "No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate" defense - Body Language of Rationalization, Rapport and Empathy

Mitt Romney wants to have his cake and eat it too. That is why during his recent trip to Michigan, he indirectly brought up the polarizing issue of President Obama's place of birth when he said (at 0:38 - 0:39 in the above video) "No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate". While he certainly solidified his political base, he most likely is alienating the independent voters. 

During the interview Scott Pelley asks Romney about why he took a swipe at President Obama. Mitt answers back, "No, no - not a swipe, I've said throughout the campaign and before, that there's no question about where he was born - he was born in the U.S. ..." At the 1:03 mark when he says the word "swipe" the former Massachusetts Governor displays a body language tell known as "R2E2". This is acronym for "Rationalization, Rapport, Empathy Expression". Here it is very brief in the form of a microexpression (lasting less than 0.5 seconds).

The R2E2 looks virtually identical to the disgust-contempt nonverbal displays. It's highly context-related and is used during speech when the speaker is trying to rationalize and/or wants the listener to co-rationalize in an action, behavior, opinion, etc. Rapport and empathy are also being sought. Like all body language - well over 99.9% of the time it's initiated subconsciously. Everyone uses the R2E2. One place it's seen extremely commonly is in a sales situation. If you visit your local auto mall you'll see it many times an hour. There often is an accompanying higher frequency shift in the voice during the R2E2 as well as false/forced laughter and a leaning forward. Sometimes there is a touching of the person who is being spoken to - or an abbreviated gesture of reaching toward them. These additional actions serve as amplifiers and anchors in the effort to gain rapport/empathy/co-rationalization.

When you see the R2E2 displayed, it's a signal that the speaker/displayer believes that you (or they) are not fully convinced of their idea, plan, actions, etc.

In this interview, Romney (of course) is trying to woo back the independent voters. Although this is obvious to most political junkies, in smaller venues and in everyday life - the R2E2 is one (of many) signal(s) which can tell you what others are thinking (both consciously and subconsciously).

See also:

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

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


Friday, August 24, 2012

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

There are some great body language signals in this Canadian Tenors performance video. The group had never met Celine Dion - and Oprah Winfrey had arranged for a surprise visit in the midst of their performance of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".

At the 3:11 mark the back of the stage opens and Celine steps forward. The first to see her is Clifton Murray (3:22) who doesn't look very surprised and implies that perhaps he had some foreknowledge of  her visit or suspected Oprah had something up her sleeve. Victor Micallef spots her next (3:23) and her appearance brings a sincere smile to his face. When Fraser Walters spots the megastar he mouths, "Oh my God" (3:27), immediately looks away, closes his eyes and covers his mouth - all strong nonverbal signals of emotionally processing a new and dramatic event. Often such scenarios are negative, and fortunately this one isn't. Walters' sensory-intellectual brain just told him he's singing along with Celine - but his emotional brain hasn't caught up with reality yet. Celine closely (but not exactly) mirrors his body language by covering her mouth along with a slight nose rub (an anxiety component as well) (3:29).

Remigio Pereira nonverbal response is fantastic. Both his eyes open "White and Wide" for about a second at 3:39. Surprise is the shortest lasting of all the emotions. If it lasts longer than two seconds there is usually a component of insincerity (An exception being psychological shock upon witnessing or hearing about a very dramatic event. Such faces were commonly seen in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001).

At the 3:37 mark Clifton Murray exhibits a palmar touch to his lower sternum - demonstrating sincerity and a strong "heart-felt" emotional tone.

Even though Ms. Dion is an alpha female, a very successful and accomplished person, at the 3:41 - 3:42 mark she performs a behind-the-ear hair adjustment - which indicates the need to "dial-up her alpha". Her psyche is essentially saying - "right now I need to be a bit more alpha and/or a little less beta". This body language is much more common in women, although men have several analogs to this very telling nonverbal (which are particularly useful in negotiations, the court room and sales-type scenarios). Celine also blushes here - which is of course a strong biological display consistent with sincerity - for a blush cannot be feigned (3:42).

See also:

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

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

Analysis # 334: Fear and Surprise - as Bulls Beat Lakers

Analysis # 1212: Sudden Mouth Covering

Analysis # 2055: Three Wise Monkeys - Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil - Body Language Interpretation vs. Traditional Symbolism


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2095:
Canoodling with the Weathergirl

Many people don't know what "Canoodle" means. Anchorman Andrew Johnson didn't - but his colleague, Astrid Braunschmidt does. In this hilarious clip, the Victoria Island B.C. Anchorman also doesn't pay much attention to the previous story (partially included here as well) and particularly the "'s (Union Bay) properly named then?" line.

While there are many body language signals, here are some highlights: 

0:16 Canoodle reference in original story.

0:33 - 0:36 Andrew Johnson has sincere, Duchenne Smile (Ekman). Note the partial eyelid closure (absolutely required), the concave up furrows in the lower lids (a near absolute), upward vectors (never laterally) of the cheek muscles, only the upper teeth exposed (never the lower teeth during a smile, but often both upper and lower exposed during sincere laughter) and a relaxed forehead muscles.

See also:

Analysis # 2091: Sincere Smiling and Laughing Reduces Anxiety and Heart Rate, Boosts Immune System and Relieves Pain

Analysis # 1905: Ann Curry's Smile and Sincerity Quotient

0:37 Johnson says to Braunschmidt, "... maybe we can canoodle before you get into it ...." and less than a half a second later, Astrid's eyebrows shoot upward - almost exclusively her right brow (a microexpression or near microexpression of nonverbal incredulity).
0:40 Johnson (through his earpiece) is learning of his gaffe from his producer with hand wringing (anxiety in this context). At this same moment the good-spirited "Weather Girl" adopts a display of central forehead contraction (CFC) with down-turned mouth corners (Physical or emotional pain for oneself or for another via empathy).

Analysis # 2042: Syrian Government Defector Nawaf al-Fares

Analysis # 2040: Never Trust a One-Sided Smile - Ex-Lobbyist Jack Abramoff

Analysis # 1910: Natasha Smith Sexually Assaulted in Tahrir Square - Post Assault Interview

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

0:41 Johnson's mouth adopts a mild - moderate fear expression as he looks down to his right (95% of right-handed people look to this quadrant during dramatic moments of negative emotion) and then a slightly prolonged closure of his eyelids (nonverbal signal of emotional processing, embarrassment). "We're not going be canoodling" moment at 0:41 - 0:42, followed by a bilateral palms-down gesture (0:43 - 0:45) indicating authority, dominance and assertiveness (often negatively received, but here of course very context-appropriate).
0:50 Mouth covering (here signally emotional processing, empathy and embarrassment).

Analysis # 21: Surprise + Fear + Empathy

Lots of great body language and laughs. Thanks to Andrew and Astrid.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2094:
Todd Akin - and Another Thing He Needs to Stop Doing

Here's another habit Representative and Senatorial Candidate Todd Akin (R-MO) needs to drop. Pointing with the forefinger (index finger) is a body language display that is universally offensive in all cultures. Do not commit this nonverbal faux pas.  It will even alienate those who are ideologically similar. Pointing at oneself is an exception to this principal - although a palm-of-hand contact to the left chest or sternum is significantly more sincere and signals much greater empathy. Another exception is pointing skyward - usually in a reference to God.

See also:

Analysis # 2777: Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, John McCain and John Boehner

Analysis # 1918: Vladimir Putin - Pointing with Pen Surrogates - Sharp vs. Blunt


Monday, August 20, 2012

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

In this video of Ann Curry's tearful goodbye, Matt Lauer gives her a kiss on her left temple at the 4:19 mark. Freeze frame at 4:20 - 4:21. There is a fantastic example of two body language tells here - a duplicitous smile as well as a classic "Tongue-in-Cheek".

Whenever a person is smiling out of one side of their mouth and frowning out of the other side, a red flag should be raised and the alarm horns should blare. This pseudo-smile/pseudo-frown is never to be trusted. Such "false smiles/frowns" share similarities with a partial emblematic slip as well as expressions of "duping delight" (Ekman). A Body Language Expert was not needed to detect the extreme awkwardness of this scene, however there are innumerable occasions when such nonverbal signals will be displayed and the emotional tone of a conversation is not nearly so evident. Look for this duplicitous body language and it will give you warning as to true intentions. This will prevent heartache, financial and time loss, major hassles ... and it may even save your life. Matt Lauer was not saddened by Ann Curry's departure - he was overjoyed.

Also at the 4:20 - 4:21 mark, Lauer also displays another betrayal of his true feelings - the "Tongue-in-cheek". It helps to view this particular moment in full-screen mode. Clustered with his other specific nonverbals seen here, his tongue-in-cheek tell indicates a self-righteous, "I just won the game" emotion. This shows without a doubt that Lauer fancies himself as a puppet master - and he had foreknowledge and very well may have orchestrated Ann Curry's departure. When different nonverbals are seen coexisting with the tongue-in-cheek (not seen here) it has different meanings. Again, not a surprise to those who have followed this event - but like most body language - it is missed in the everyday world. Don't miss it.

See also:

Analysis # 1912: Ann Curry's Tearful Goodbye and Matt Lauer's Insincerity 

Analysis # 1905: Ann Curry's Smile and Sincerity Quotient


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2087:
Mitt Romney's Sincerity -
Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies

Pay no attention to the secret service guy on the right. Here, Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney holds a baby at a recent campaign event. Infants evoke a natural protective and nurturing response in virtually all who see them. Head-to-head contact is body language signal particularly indicative of sincere affection. One of the best things about running for high office - is holding all those babies. Here Mitt's affection is very sincere. Such images engage our empathy deeply. Even staunch democrats who witness Romney displaying this affection will be softened by it. And it makes the republicans like him even more.

See also:

Analysis # 1500: Six Degrees of Separation? Leaning in, Head Touching and the Manubrium - Kyra and Kevin are 10th Cousins, Once Removed

Analysis # 1423: Head First Affection & Head Surrogate Hugs

Analysis # 1898: Heat, Hugs & Head Surrogates

Analysis # 391: Hillary Clinton and Aung San Suu Kyi

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


Friday, August 17, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2086:
Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Bacon, Love and Sincerity

There are many fantastic body language displays in this interview, but one in particular is highlighted here: At the 0:37 mark in this video, just after she sees a video of her husband (Kevin Bacon) describing their first encounter and their love, Kyra Sedgwick briefly touches her sternum with her right (dominant) hand. When we further nuance her body language however, we see that she makes contact not only with her fingers - but with the palm of her hand as well. This "palmar touch" indicates a much greater level of sincerity.

When anyone touches with just the fingers/finger tips (such as often seen in business, sales, the courtroom and in personal relationships) - this indicates insincerity. Such a MAP (Manipulator, Adaptor or Pacifier) display would not indicate the person as a whole was insincere, but it would mean in that moment, they were not feeling full commitment and/or not being entirely honest (unless of course we see such nonverbals displayed chronically). 


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Secret # 2091:
Sincere Smiling (a' la Blake Lively) and
Laughing - Reduces Anxiety and
Heart Rate, Boosts Immune System and Relieves Pain

The results of this study are no surprise to those who study body language. People who adopt a smile, particularly a true smile consistent with joy (Duchenne Smile), have lower heart rates and lower anxiety levels - both during and after the stressor. The multiple images of the people shown during the 0:36 - 0:46 segment are genuine, sincere smiles characterized by the cardinal nonverbal signs of partial eyelid closure, a concave up dynamic furrow on the lower eyelids, only the upper teeth visible and a relaxed forehead.

The same study showed that laughter has the added effect of boosting the immune system and relieving pain. Although this particular study was new, these and other similar benefits of adopting positive body language have been well described for decades.

Few people can call up a sincere smile on command (how good are you?) - but it's value is tremendous. For while everyone knows those who are joyful smile, this and other studies show us that the reverse is true - a sincere smile can alter our physiology and lead to true happiness.

See also:

Secret # 702: Mouth of Fear, Trying to Smile and Forehead of Pain

Secret # 133: Surprise or Smile or Neither?

Analysis # 2: Body Language of Blake Lively and Penn Badgley Strongly Suggests an Impending Break-up in Near Future

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2203: A Body Language Metric of Intimacy and Affection -  How Do YOU cuddle?


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2090:
Hope Solo on Piers Morgan
Flirting 101

In this Piers Morgan interview, U.S. Goal Keeper, Hope Solo displays classic flirtatious body language signals of hair preening, facial blushing, pointing the elbow laterally (upper arm pointed out to side) with armpit exposure and a sincere smile during the 0:19 - 0:22 segment. When multiple congruent nonverbal signals are seen simultaneously or nearly so - this is referred to as a body language "cluster" and thus its message should be interpreted with a very high degree of confidence. 


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2092:
The Importance of Eye Contact -
Contributing Author to "The Language Lab"

Very Flattered to contribute to Dr. Sandra Folk's "The Language Lab" and their extremely insightful Blog.

See also:

Analysis # 335: What does "Eye Contact" really mean? 

Analysis # 385: Lack of Eye Contact in the Context of Guilt

Analysis # 1516: Ozzie Guillen Apology, his "Sincerity Quotient" & Fidel Castro

Analysis # 1808: Time Magazine's Breast Feeding, Dr. William Sears and Attachment Parenting Controversy - Shows Emotional Dissonance at Best

Analysis # 712: We are Born with the Desire for Eye Contact

Analysis # 1805: "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World" - What Makes Her Even More Alluring? - Aishwarya Rai

Analysis # 394 & 496: Rick Perry's Nonverbal Mistakes in Iowa

Analysis # 353: Brad Pitt's Smiling Eyes - Sincere and Insincere Smiles

Analysis # 1858: What the Eyes Do - Mild vs. Severe Anger

Analysis # 1010: What Makes the Twinkle in Rashida Jones' Eye?


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

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

The anteriorly directed (towards the front) Tongue-in-Cheek variant (particularly with her coexisting eye and forehead configurations) exemplified by Dina Eastwood (Clint's Wife) is a sexually provocative body language display. This nonverbal sign can occur both consciously and at the edge-of-consciousness. Ms. Eastwood's hair preening is also consistent with flirtatious behavior. And although the context of this photo is deliberately theatrical, if we were to have a video of this moment, her elbow would most probably be seen for a time to extend out straight laterally, opening exposing her armpit.

Tongue-in-Cheek displays can have several additional meanings depending on the other nonverbals with which they are clustered. These include anger, sadness, alpha dominant display, "I just caught you", "I just won", self-righteousness/smugness, telling a lie.

See also:

Analysis # 1911: Preening as a Signal of Affection-Attraction

Analysis # 1858: What the Eyes Do - Mild vs. Severe Anger

Analysis # 1834: Chelsea FC vs. Bayern Munich and the G8 


Monday, August 13, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2084:
Lolo Jones's False Mastication/Jaw Clenching

Lolo Jones finished fourth in the 110 meter hurdles at the 2012 London Olympics. Fourth in a World of 3.6 Billion women. And people still give her a hard time. Above is yet another example. You can't blame her for being nervous or angry. Jones shows signals of both here. Note at the beginning of this video when Mike Galanos is asking his question, Lolo is tightening (clenching) her jaw muscles (masseter muscles) in an alternating fashion. This body language is a variation of "False Mastication" (false chewing) and is a nonverbal highly consistent with anxiety. Jaw clenching can also signal anger. While not nearly as obvious as Ms. Jones's eye brows contracting together and downward (during significant portions of this clip), this false mastication/jaw clenching is more subtle body language is often the only sign displayed. Miss it at your own risk.

See also:


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2089:
Ann Curry's and Matt Lauer's Very Awkward Reunion

In this incredibly awkward reunion of NBC's Ann Curry and Matt Lauer, it obvious to all how uncomfortable this is for Ann. Matt's attempt at being warm-and-fuzzy fails miserably. If you squirm when you watch it, you've got some empathy for the former Today Show's co-host. 

Matt obviously has read up on body language since Ann's departure. Note their lower limb directions. Ann's feet and legs are pointed away from Lauer. Moreover, her legs are crossed away from him - while Matt's are crossed towards Ann. Curry's torso is leaning distinctly away from Lauer as she both consciously and subconsciously distances herself from her former co-host. Her thin-lipped and tight "pseudo-smile" at 1:04 exemplifies anger and an attempt at polite tolerance. Lauer is rebuffed. Who could blame her?  


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2088:
McKayla Maroney's Expression - Everyone Got it Wrong
2012 Olympic Vault Silver Medalist

McKayla Maroney is shown here during the medal ceremony for the gymnastics Vault. The World-Class gymnast silvered in the London Olympics in this event which contrasts somewhat to her peak 2011 achievement when she was World Champion in the vault (Ms. Maroney, of course, also contributed to her team's Gold medal performance). Most everyone, including the press has completely misinterpreted her facial expression. Examples of these MISTAKES include disgust, pouty and scowl. There are multiple memes of her all over the internet further demonstrating this absolute lack of understanding - including the tumblr site: "McKayla is not impressed". However, none of these interpretations of this 16 year-old's body language are even remotely close.

McKayla's asymmetrical lip purse expression is a classic nonverbal indicative of openly (non-secretively) deciding on a course of action. There is no disgust, contempt, sadness, scowl, pout, anger or any other negative emotion being displayed here.

This is yet another example of how body language, emotions and motives are completely and routinely misinterpreted.

See also:

Analysis # 551: Openly Weighing a Decision


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2082:
Cătălina Ponor's False "Smile" -
Silver Medal in Floor Exercise

Cătălina Ponor is pictured here during the medal ceremony for the floor exercise at the 2012 London Olympics. In Athens, along with her Romanian teammates she won the team event - as well as in the floor exercise and the balance beam. In this image, Cătălina is displaying the body language of a "Bitter Smile" (along with Disgust). This particular variation of a "false smile" is one of the best examples of just how unaware most everyone is regarding own nonverbal signals - especially when experiencing negative emotions. When this mouth configuration is seen, people believe they are making a modest smile. Ms. Ponor feels bitterness-regret for she has tasted gold before.

In this image, Ponor is standing her next to the gold medalist, Aly Raisman. Yesterday Raismin, who initially finished fourth in the balance beam - was moved up to the bronze, displacing Ponor when a protest was lodged by the American coach.


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2083:
Félix Sánchez describes his 400 M Hurdle Gold Medal Race
and his Relationship with his Grandmother -
A High Sincerity Quotient

In this interview, two-time Olympic Champion in the 400 M Hurdles Félix Sánchez describes his relationship with his grandmother, his failure to defend his Gold Medal Title in Athens at the Beijing games - and his victory earlier this week. He ran with a picture of his grandmother (Lillian) in his running jersey two days ago in London .... and brought home the Gold Medal once again (his 2004 gold was the first ever for the Dominican Republic). When a right-handed person is recalling, experiencing and/or describing something that is deeply emotional, about 95% of the time they will look DOWN and to THEIR RIGHT - as Sánchez does repeatedly throughout this segment. The lower right is also the quadrant referenced during kinesthetic processes, description or recall. While the quadrant-emotional correlations are not 100% on all people, once a person body language baseline behavior has been "normed" and correlated, they are highly reliable. 

This and other similar eye movements are epiphenomena of mental-emotional processing and although neural pathways have not been elicited, this nonverbal behavior is extremely useful when assessing for sincerity vs. insincerity and truth vs. deception. 

Félix Sánchez has two gold medals, great memories and a very high sincerity quotient.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2081:
Vladimir Putin - to Diss a Kiss
Russian Rebuff

In this video, Russian President Vladimir Putin is shaking hands with a group of Russian Orthodox Priests at a 14th Century Monastery on Valaam, a Russian Island. At the 0:14 mark (or in slow-motion at 0:21) a priest tries and almost succeeds in kissing Putin's hand. Vladimir suddenly pulls his arm away. His central eyebrows immediately contract together and downward in a nonverbal signal of anger (0:15 - 0:16 or 0:22 - 0:23). He then pulls his right hand/arm up and forms a fist (0:16 or 0:26 - 0:27) after almost Putin-pushing him away with his left. Putin certainly does not want to be viewed as a "warm and fuzzy" - particularly when it comes to religion. 

If you look closely (freeze at 0:16 or at slow-motion at 0:26), you can see his nostrils dilate, his mustache area tighten up - with a raising and protrusion of both his upper and lower lips. His chin also displays dynamic wrinkling. These body language configurations taken together are all highly consistent with the emotion of disgust.

Vladimir - if you want to build rapport, when in Rome ... (or Russia or Valaam) do as the Roman's do (regardless of their Orthodoxy).


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2080:
Ragù Commercial - 10 year old Boy Walks in on Parents

This commercial for Ragù Spaghetti Sauce is utterly hilarious - the first time I saw it (during a break in the Olympic coverage Sunday night) - I laughed for what seemed like five minutes. Makes me wonder what they told the young actor to get him to make those facial expressions. But as funny as they are - his nonverbals are not as accurate as they could be ...

During the 0:11 - 0:16 segment, just after "Junior" sees Mommy & Daddy, the facial expression the director is trying to achieve is one of "Surprise-Shock". His eye lids are open mildly-to-moderately wider than normal, however they should be opened a bit wider and most certainly would be at such a Sea-change moment in the young and naive.

During this same segment, the boy's mouth should be opened very wide - in a vertically-elongated oval. At such moments of surprise-shock, it would also be very typical for one or both hands to rapidly reach up and cover the mouth.

A few seconds later (0:19 - 0:20), the shocked child goes into a semi-fear expression with a bit of pain-empathy mixed in (This transition to another emotion IS accurate - as surprise (very rapidly) and surprise-shock (somewhat less rapid) are almost always followed by another emotion. Once again, his body language needs refinement. Eyelids open widely when fear is present. His lids could be opened a good bit wider. We should see more of a "white and wide" appearance.

With the feeling and expression of fear, "Junior" should also be bearing his upper and lower teeth with the corners of his mouth pulled straight back or with a bit of a down turn. With fear, the neck muscles would be tightened and tented-up. In addition his nostril openings would be flared. With fear-empathy we would also expect to see his central forehead contracted, with the lateral portions relaxed. 

While the kid did a pretty good job - and the director fantastic job creatively (and here he should really win a Clio Award), he could use a good bit of body language knowledge to refine these expressions so that he better captures the emotions of the moment.

Just gotta love Ragù.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2777:
Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, John McCain and John Boehner

Hillary Clinton is not often on the same side of an issue as John McCain and John Boehner - however they are when it comes to Huma Abedin, Clinton's long-time aide and deputy chief-of-staff. After five house republicans called into question whether Ms. Abedin has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood because a possible association her long-deceased father may have had - all three came to her defense. 

During the 0:17 - 0:27 segment of this video, Secretary Clinton is praising McCain and Boehner while denouncing the McCarthyesque actions of those questioning Ms. Abedin's loyalty. Ms. Clinton uses the "Political Point" with her right hand along with an up-and-down chopping motion of her right arm. The political point is used in lieu of a traditional finger point (index finger/forefinger) or other similar nonverbals (the two finger point, pointing with a pen or pencil). As its moniker alludes to, this form of pointing is seen most often in the political arena and is a "softer" and friendlier way to point. 

The "index finger point" is a body language that is cross-culturally offensive and with rare exception should never be used. Often the thumb and forefinger are in a loose and nearly circular configuration - which is seen when the face, particularly the mid-face and mouth are more relaxed and void of anger and other negative emotional body language signals. Note however, that Ms. Clinton's digits are pinched together to form a tear-drop shape. When this variation of the political-point is seen, there is a more negative emotional tone present - which is often seen with corresponding facial tension. Ms. Clinton displays a subtle body language expression of contempt during this same ten second segment - which is directed at Huma Abedin's accusers - Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-Tx), Thomas Rooney (R-FL) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA).

Thus the pinched-political point (tear-drop shaped) is a more assertive and aggressive variation compared to the circular, relaxed and relative-beta variety. Ms. Clinton's chopping motion of her arm further adds to these more alpha emotions. While to some these may seem nearly identical gestures, nuancing this difference will allow you a clearer view into others' psyches. If negative emotions are present - endeavor to see through the camouflage ... or you will be ambushed.