Friday, October 4, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2547: Amanda Knox's ex-Boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, Piers Morgan Interview, Body Language Tells and Avoiding the Othello Error (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Piers Morgan recent interviewed Raffaele Sollecito who together with Amanda Knox had been accused in the murder of Meredith Kercher. Both Knox and Sollecito were found guilty and spent four years in an Italian prison until their convictions were overturned in October 2011 and they were released. They are now being re-tried once again, although understandably, neither one has traveled back to Italy. What follows is a partial body language analysis of Mr. Sollecito.

Beginning at 1:44 in the video:

Morgan: "...What do you know about that knife?"

Sollecito: "Well basically, in my opinion, just logically, it's ridiculous that anybody will bring such a big knife from my house to another house, but upon on that, ah, the, e, e, investigation, ah thee, thee, forensic science found that there's amide on the blade and there's no, ah, trace of blood, there's nothing about Meredith Kercher DNA, ah, even if they, the prosecution say something different, but it was contaminated because they didn't respect the protocols when they, ahhh, when they pick it up that knife."

Morgan: "Final question for you Raffae', I, I know Meredith Kercher's father, I used to work with him a bit in England, and they've suffered enormously from what has happened obviously to their daughter ...."

Throughout this short video, Raffaele Sollecito displays multiple examples of a microexpression and longer duration expressions of contempt.

Note the partial closure of his eyes (which although it is not required in this particular display - is a contempt amplifier). The unilateral "snarl" configuration is the most classic body language morphology of contempt (do you know the others?) - resulting in a tightening of the "mustache area" a one-sided raising of the lip, a dynamic deepening of the nasal-labial furrow and a dilation (flaring) of the nostril on the same side.

At 2:32, just after he says "...when they pick it up that knife", Mr. Sollecito commits a "tongue jut". This indicates the emotion of: "I've done something foolish", "I've been bad", "I got caught", "I've gotten away with something" and similar sentiment (when clustered with other nonverbals it can indicate self-deprecating humor or excitement).

Immediately following his tongue jut, Sollecito displays an "Inward Lip Roll" (ILR) along with a bilateral eyelid closure (2:34). An ILR is an outward manifestation of the psyche's attempt at to suppress an emotion at its more overt display. Although such emotions can be positive (e.g. joy-laughter) it is most often a negative emotion. Bilateral eyelid closure is congruent with a negative emotional tone.

What negative emotion is Raffaele suppressing?

Just after Piers Morgan tells Raffaele that he knows and has worked with Meredith Kercher's father, Sollecito exhibits a hard swallow (2:41 and is also seen at 0:03). This is signaled by his Adam's apple (thyroid cartilage) quickly elevating then lowering.

This is of course a classic display of anxiety that is recognized even by children - yet it is relatively rarely seen or contemplated.

Care must be taken to not commit what is known as "Othello's Error" (Ekman). People can feel and display anxiety signals when they are innocent and have fear being perceived as guilty. This was Othello's error in the Shakespeare play (Othello) when he saw nervousness on Desdemona's face (his wife). She was full of anxiety for fear of being falsely accused and killed by her mad husband - yet he misread this as anxiety associated with guilt.

Do you know how to use nonverbal communication to separate the guilty from then innocent?

See also:

Negotiation Secret # 331: Amanda Knox's Sincerity

Negotiation Secret # 335 & 353: Incredulous with Contempt  Amanda Knox Redux

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2500:  Ft. Hood Shooter Nidal Malik Hasan and Contempt  The Body Language of Threat Assessment

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1482:  George Clooney's Lizard Tongue (Tongue Jut)

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2289:  Sen. Lindsey Graham grills Chuck Hagel -  Body Language at Senate Confirmation Hearings

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2404:  Internal Lip Roll and other Body Language  associated with Suppression of Sadness

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2374:  Tom Cruise on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Body Language of Emotional Dissonance