Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2397: Angelina Jolie on Motherhood & Her Own Mom - Body Language and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Today it was revealed through an op-ed written by Angelina Jolie in the New York Times, that she has recently undergone a bilateral mastectomy in an effort to prevent breast cancer. Jolie was told that her chances of acquiring the disease was 87% and electing to have the surgery performed has reduced her chances to 5%. This cancer association is correlated strongly with the BRCA1 & BRCA2 genes, which also carries with them a 50% chance of ovarian cancer. Jolie's mother, actress and producer Marcheline Bertrand died of ovarian cancer at the age of 56 in 2007.

Note: The original video is linked here, although since the original post, is no longer able to be embedded. The images below however, were captured from this video. 

In the above video, a 60 minutes interview from 2011(short and highly edited), Jolie speaks about motherhood, her own mom - and about the idea of her eventually giving up acting. Some of her body language displays are discussed below.

This expression in context is known as R2E2 which is an abbreviation for the "Rationalization Rapport Empathy Expression". This nonverbal can be seen in the above video at the 12:48 mark. It is commonly mistaken by many body language beginners as a disgust - and indeed may look very similar or identical to it - which necessitates the context of video and/or direct experience. 

This body language-facial expression is a signal that a person is trying to rationalize or get another person to co-rationalize an idea, action, plan etc. with them. Those who make this are not always completely confident of what they are saying and may very well be attempting to recruit their audience (even if it's just one person of course) to have empathy for their point of view. It can also be a subconscious signal that its user is trying to engender rapport. It often is clustered with an increase in the volume, pitch and rate of speech (paralanguage signals which she exemplifies here too). There is also very commonly a leaning forward of the the head, neck, torso as well as a reaching towards or often a touching of the person with whom they are speaking on their arm, arm, elbow or shoulder. These other verbal and paralanguage qualities serve as amplifiers of the R2E2. In this video Ms. Jolie shifts slightly in her chair with a subtle forward movement of her head, shoulder/torso.

Earlier, at 11:32, Angelina displays a body language cluster consistent with sincerity, vulnerability and affection - with a bilateral eye closed simultaneous with a head tilt. Here, the object of her affection is her mother. This occurs while the actress is fighting back tears. Take note also that her head tilt is towards the other person.

What would you think her nonverbal signals would indicate if her eyes did not close? What if her head & neck tilted away from the other person?

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2193:  Keira Knightley interview re: "Anna Karenina" - Body Language of "R2E2" Facial Expression

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2341:  Angela Bassett Interview - Rationalization Rapport Empathy Expression  R2E2, Body Language & "Olympus has Fallen"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 1732:  Rationalization, Rapport, Empathy Expression & How Jewel got her name

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

Negotiation Body Language Secret No. 353:  Brad Pitt's Smiling Eyes - Sincere and Insincere Smiles