André Benjamin (André 3000 of OutKast) was recently a guest on "Late Show with David Letterman" promoting the biopic "All Is by My Side" - in which he plays Jimi Hendrix. Near the end of the above video clip, as he is recounting Hendrix's playing of "St. Pepper's LonelyHearts Club Band" for The Beatles on the day after they released the album - Benjamin plays the air guitar right-handed. Hendrix was left-handed. After Dave points out his mistake, André of course is quite embarrassed. What follows is a partial body language analysis highlighting some of embarrassment's rarely discussed nonverbals.
This moment at 4:24 shows André Benjamin relaxed and in a fairly alpha configuration - with his elbows away from his torso, his legs apart and face relaxed.
As he begins to realize his error (4:31) we see a sincere smile (although we cannot see his eyes, how can we say it's sincere?).
His elbows are still away from his torso and his legs are slightly closer together.
At 4:32 there is further flexing at all the major regions - Benjamin's waist, knees, shoulders, elbows and neck.
His legs and elbow are closer together - drawn toward the center as he crescendos from sincere smiling to sincere laughing.
At 4:33 even more flexing and near-face covering is displayed as his embarrassment progresses.
At 4:35 his upper body extends backward - as is often seen in the context of sincere laughter.
His elbows are still drawn towards his torso.
Note that his legs are closest together in this moment.
André Benjamin is having a good-natured laugh at himself. He is sincere. Yet he is still embarrassed. Embarrassment is a beta emotion - not alpha, although Mr. Benjamin has an alpha personality, this is a beta moment. Thus if embarrassment is sincere, we will see the drawing inwards of the arms and legs, a covering of the face (here somewhat truncated) - along with sincere smiling and laughter (although sometimes partially suppressed). In many contexts these changes are considerably more subtle than we see here - yet embarrassment is never an emotion that should go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2973: Rand Paul's Body Language Tells Us His Plan B for 2016
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2778: April Fools Prank, Embarrassment and Body Language
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2764: Embarrassment, Affection & Flirtation - Mila Kunis & Ashton Kutcher - Kiss Cam Body Language
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2582: Jay Carney Dismisses (and is Embarrassed by) Low Obamacare Enrollment Numbers
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2945: Roger Goodell's Interview regarding Ray Rice - Denies NFL saw Video before Monday - Body Language Tells