Monday, February 3, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2709: Philip Seymour Hoffman - Can You Tell When an Oscar Winning Actor is Lying? Body Language (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

My condolences to the friends and family of Philip Seymour Hoffman. By all accounts he was a fantastic actor. Nominated for four Academy Awards and winner of Best Actor for his 2005 role in "Capote" in which he played the title role - he will surely be missed.

Within the above video (beginning at the 1:10 mark) there is a clip from a 2006 "60 Minutes" interview where Steve Kroft asks him, "... So this was, drugs or alcohol or both?"

Hoffman answers, "Yeah, it was all, all that stuff, yeah [strained and acted laughter] it was everything I could get my hands on [continued strained laughter], yeah, yeah, I liked it all, yeah ...."

Kroft returns, "And why did you st-, decide to stop?"

[Hoffman then keeps a relative stoned face - after all he is an accomplished actor yet this is a conscious effort. A moment later his unconscious takes over though] he answers, "You get panicked, you get panicked, [Ear screw from 1:31 - 1:34] it was um ..... I was twenty-two and I got panicked for my life ...."

In this context, this particular nonverbal is highly indicative of deception. Hoffman felt that he was lying in some manner by answering this question in the way he did. Of course the most logical explanation for this lie was that he in fact never stopped or had since resumed his recreational drug use.

As Dr. Paul Ekman has noted, when actors are acting they reside in an interesting psychological space wherein they are both lying and telling the truth. We as the audience give them license to lie. We want to be deceived. And they grow to be quite good at it. Hoffman was outstanding. And yet when these stars are not acting, they default to their humanness - just like the rest of us.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2674: Did Chris Christie Orchestrate Bridge Closure or Cover Up His Subordinates Actions? Body Language Tells Us ....

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2620: President Obama Tells a Couple Fibs - "Norming" Barack's Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2033:  Lie Detection, Sergei Lavrov and Syria

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2642: Tom Hanks Can't Act Away a Fib - His Body Language Tells a Little Lie

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2652: Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon on Saturday Night Live - Trying to Suppress the Laughter