Thursday, May 30, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2414:
Sen. John McCain after his Trip to Syria -
Body Language of Regret and Contempt

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) just returned from a trip to Syria. It is well known that Sen. McCain has long believed the United States should supply weapons to the Syrian Rebels (those forces opposed to Bashar al Assad). When Anderson Cooper asks him about his feelings after direct experience while in Syria, Sen. McCain displays some telling facial expressions.

What makes his particular facial nonverbals more difficult to dissect is the fact that Sen. McCain has residual facial nerve (Cranial Nerve VII) palsy (when no causes are found after a complete medical evaluation, this is referred to as Bell's Palsy). This leaves his left forehead, eyebrow, cheek and mouth corner mildly hypo-reactive and "droopy" - thus making his expressions more complex than most to accurately assess.

At 0:06, the left corner of John McCain's mouth pulls primarily laterally (note dynamic dimple adjacent to left mouth) - signaling the emotion of regret. 

There are other nonverbal manifestations of regret - Do you know these?

At 0:07, we can see significantly greater upward vectoring and tightening of McCain's Cheek and the left portion of his "mustache area" - consistent with a greater contempt emotional component.

The Senator has slight nose asymmetry leaving his baseline configuration of a left nostril (nostril dilation aka nasal flaring) larger than his right - implying contempt

Bilateral closing of the eyelids in this context is contempt amplifier.

In summary Senator McCain feels two emotions here - first regret followed rapidly by contempt.  What other nonverbal signals do you see in this video?

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2320:  Estonian Skier Andrus Veerpalu  Denies Performance Enhancing Drugs -  What his Body Language Tells Us

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1517:  Signals of Acquiescence and Regret  Rick Santorum Drops Out

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2408:  Sen. Kelly Ayotte's Anxiety & Regret via  Senators Graham & McCain - Republican Body Language in Response to  President Obama's National Defense University Speech

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2323:  Jodi Arias Murder Trial  The Body Language of Unilateral Regret vs. Contempt

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2228:  Jay Carney's Body Language -  Contempt disguised as a Sniff ....  for Republicans' Solutions to the Fiscal Cliff

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2350:  Contempt - both dramatic and subtle -  Backpedaling and Body Language

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

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2312: Bruce Willis' Body Language - Contempt vs. Suppressed Smile vs. Pseudo Smile vs. Sincere Smile

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2384:  Bashar al-Assad on 1 May 2013 - Demure, Beta and Nervous - Body Language Lessons on how NOT to appear Confident