Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3162: Robert Downey Jr. walks out of Interview - Star walks out when asked about past - Body Language (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Earlier today this video was published on YouTube. In it, Robert Downey Jr. speaks of his thoughts on super heroes, Iron Man as well as his latest film "Avengers: Age of Ultron". However the talented actor did not care for Krishnan Guru-Murthy's questions (along with most everyone who watched it) and he walked out early. This interview is so very full of nonverbal signals - below is a partial analysis of some of the more telling moments.


Downey displays some Subtle Contempt 

Do you detect some signals of disbelief as well?


His contempt is slightly more expressed - although still mild-moderate. Many would falsely label this a "bit of a smile" or a "polite smile" or "social smile".

Note also his left eyebrow is further raised signaling incredulity (e.g., "I can't believe you're making this inference!").

[Prominent Head Shaking follows- a further incredulity signal, please view the video to see this dynamic].
What other nonverbal signals here telegraph some anger?


Sincere Smile (Downey's smiling at what he feels is a ridiculous situation - thus partially sarcastic-sardonic and to a degree - a [healthy] coping mechanism)


Downey looks up and slightly to HIS left while temporarily focused at a distance. This is significant for Visual Recall when Guru-Murthy asks him about a quote Downey gave to the New York Times. He is trying to and/or visualizing the quote, in print, in his mind's eye.


"I couldn't even tell you what a liberal is ... so ..." [then "Take it or leave it Expression"]

Elements of dismissive emotional tone

Elements of incredulity as well

Subtle anger here too

After the 5:00 minute mark, Mr. Downey's respiration increased. An even greater increase in his breathing is seen about 5:25 mark.


Robert Downey Jr. displays an extended blink as Guru-Murthy implies Downey's lack of comfort level with the subject matter. It's at this exact moment that Downey "Emotionally Red-lined" with respect to reaching the mental state of realistically walking out of the interview.


Robert Downey Jr. says, "Your foot is starting to jump a little bit, you better get to your next question."

Note Downey's Deep Inhalation after his statement.

When he is visible, Guru-Murthy's legs and feet were much of the time in motion along with frequent readjustments in his chair signifying significant anxiety.

(As a body language expert, I must say I was tickled pink when Downey called out Guru-Murthy on this nonverbal display - implying its significance. However in YOUR day-to-day world, the vast majority of the time it is best to keep such knowledge to oneself thus maintaining a profound advantage.)

A greater increase in respiration is noted at about 6:00 - as Robert Downey Jr.'s breathing even becomes significantly audible. The Videographer notices this significant emotional change and thus zooms in.


Clear defensiveness on the part of the interviewer as he crosses his arms across his chest.


Jaw Jut displayed by Guru-Murthy - indicating significant anger. 

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3161: John Stamos Announces Full House is Coming Back on Jimmy Kimmel - Body Language regarding Bob Saget

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2768: Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin - and the VERY UNconscious Uncoupling foretelling their Conscious Uncoupling

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2838: Robert De Niro, Graham Norton and Acting Advice - Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3005: Barack Obama, "I would enjoy having some Kentucky Bourbon with Mitch McConnell" - Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3121: Barack Obama and George W. Bush at the 50th Anniversary of the First Selma-to-Montgomery March