At multiple times in the above video, Jay Carney uses "Tight Fist" gestures (e.g. during 0:38 - 0:55) as he defends Chuck Hagel's performance during his Secretary of Defense Senate Confirmation Hearings last week. What he almost certainly was intending to use is a "Loose Fist Thumbs Up" gesture (NOT seen in this video, but shown in the image below), which his boss President Obama uses often and well. A loose fist thumbs up illustrator is a great example of an alpha-beta hybrid nonverbal - not too alpha and not overly beta, but in between. Particularly for leaders, alpha-beta hybrid body language is great to use (of which this is but one of many examples), for these have the advantages of not being overly aggressive and hyper-dominant - while at the same time avoiding projecting acquiescing or demure emotional tones. Mr. Carney's tight fist illustrators have the reverse effect of his intentions. They alienate rather than build rapport. He is being over-alpha and thus his message has a strong tendency to backfire.
Mr. Carney is strongly and sincerely defending Sen. Hagel and the White House's endorsement of him. The emotions associated with his strong opinions "leak" out in multiple microexpressions, subtle expressions and overt displays of contempt on the left side of his face. Moreover, when the face manifests strong negative emotions, these tensions often are mirrored in tension in the hands. This common phenomenon is the very reason the press secretary is making tight fists rather than the "Loose Fist Thumbs Up" exampled to the left.
When you see tension in the face, look for it in the hands and vice versa. In addition, when a person is angry and they relax and/or massage their hands - or have a face massage, their anger will nearly always diminish, often dramatically.
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