Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3125: Vladimir Putin, Suppressed Smiling & Blushing - Body Language (PHOTOS)

Rumor has it in Russia that Vladimir Putin is under the weather. Some have even said the Russian President is dead. It's been eight days since he's been seen in public and he's cancelled a trip to Kazakhstan as well as multiple appearances. The Kremlin appears also to be releasing photos from earlier events, presumably to give the impression that all is well.

The context of the above image is not known, yet we can tell a good bit about the former KGB agent's thought-emotions in this moment. Mr. Putin is sporting a sincere, yet suppressed smile with:
  • Relaxed (non-contracted) forehead
  • Eyelids partially closed
  • Concave-up furrows in the lower eyelids
  • Upwardly-vectored cheek contractions
  • Suppressed mouth smile with no teeth exposed
Another signal we see here is Vladimir is blushing. When blushing is seen in the context of a sincere smile - even a suppressed one - the blushing acts as a sincerity amplifier. Embarrassment - yes, most know this, but all but a few are aware that blushing in this context is a signal of sincerity.

Note also the dilated vein over Mr. Putin's left temple. Here this is an indicator of a subconscious variation of a Valsalva-like maneuver (increased intra-thoracic pressure) and thus in this setting it's a signal of significant anxiety. 

Several points here are of paramount importance:
  • A person can be smiling sincerely for atypical or unethical reasons
  • Sincere smiles need not have any blushing component
  • Blushing can certainly indicate and overlaps other emotions (Embarrassment, dishonesty, etc...)
  • Often, the more the person tries to suppress a sincere smile, the more they blush

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3091: Vladimir Putin has Asperger's Syndrome according to Pentagon Report - Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3117: Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Putin - What Body Language Tells Us

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3025: Vladimir Putin, Alpha Hand Signals and "The Claw"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3048: Vladimir Putin's Press Conference, 18 December 2014, Economic Instability and Low Emotional Comfort
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2511:  Barack Obama & Vladimir Putin  Handshake at 2013 G20 Meeting

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3016: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and a Suppressed yet Sincere Smile

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3020: Google Celebrates Sister Corita Kent's Birthday - Recognizing a Sincere yet Suppressed Smile - Body Language Variations

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3028: Chris Rock's (and other Comedians) Body Language Trick that Gets You Laughing Easier