Friday, April 25, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2797: Michelle Obama, a Ten Year Old Girl and a Résumé - Body Language of .... (VIDEO, PHOTO)

Yesterday in the U.S., it was "Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day". At a White House gathering, when Charlotte Bell (whose mother works for the Executive Branch) was called on by the First Lady, she said, "... My Dad's been out of a job for three years and I wanted to give you his résumé"  - and she handed it to Michelle Obama.

If we look carefully at Mrs. Obama's facial expression, what is the emotion she was feeling in the midst of hearing the assertive ten year old's question?

It was fear.

Michelle Obama felt fear. This was of course, a completely unexpected action - for who would anticipate a ten year old to pitch her father for a job ... and at the White House?

If any of us were in the first lady's shoes we would probably feel a similar level of (social) fear - but we would probably not recover as nicely as she did.

The first lady is of course human, thus a microexpression of fear when such a (contextually) embarrassing subject is raised is expected. Most would miss this body language however if they did not know what to look for - even with the benefit of video. Note her eyelids are opened considerably wider than baseline and the corners of her mouth are pulled subtly down and backwards. If this were a higher resolution image we would see signals of Mrs. Obama's neck tightening as well. With what other emotion is this facial expression typically confused?

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2791: Sofia Vergara, Threesomes and Fear - Body Language & the Fading Gigolo

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2338:  Why Does Keit Pentus-Rosimannus feel Fear?  Body Language of Estonia's Minister of Environment

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2274:  The Eyes & Mouth of Fear -  Body Language of Ahmed Dogan during  Attempted Assassination

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2785: Oscar Pistorius - Another Day of Testimony - Low Confidence Body Language Display

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2750: Oscar Pistorius, Reeva Steenkamp and Lies - Body Language

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1171:  Not So Fast Swift ....  Taylor's False Surprise

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2796: Olivia Wilde, Butter, Jon Stewart and the Tongue in Cheek - Body Language