Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3397: Close Encounter - Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Ryan Gosling - SNL - Body Language (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong and Ryan Gosling starred in a recent Saturday Night Live skit as victims of an alien abduction. The three are being interviewed by NSA special agents played by Aidy Bryant and Bobby Moynihan.

If you haven't watched this video, you must - if nothing else, you will laugh your A** off.

There is however, another reason to view this video. Most comedians will employ a nonverbal trick which lowers the audience's laughter threshold - they speak/perform while maintaining a partial sincere smile (e.g., Chris Rock does this very effectively). As human beings, when we see another person, laughing, smiling, crying, angry, disgusted, etc., - we will tend to feel the same emotions they are feeling - and then express these on our faces and bodies. This is known as mirroring behavior - and it's engendered varying degrees by empathy. Not surprisingly, the neurons which facilitate this are known as "Mirror Neurons" aka "Empathy Neurons".

The comedians in this hilarious SNL skit are acting however - as opposed to performing a monologue. When they break character - while sincerely trying not to (failing at suppressing their laughter) - it makes the already funny script/good acting much funnier. Many people will even get a high level of laughter watching this repeatedly. It's also interesting to note that the one professional dramatic actor (Gosling) has the most difficulty "staying in character".

Another very valuable distinction here - is that those who can reliably initiate and maintain a partial (but sincere) smile, will find it to be a profoundly potent mood-elevator.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3396: President Obama's Oval Office Address - Dialing up The Alpha - Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3393: Syed Rizwan Farook, Tashfeen Malik, San Bernardino Shooting and Predicting Violent Behavior

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3390: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Henry Cavill is portraying what emotions? 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3377: Holly Holm's post-fight interview after defeating Ronda Rousey 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3365: Carly Fiorina on "The View" - Destroying Likability and Lowering Charisma 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3392: Donald Trump to Republican Jewish Coalition   

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3321: John Boehner Announces Resignation During Press Conference - A Classic Body Language Tell

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3353: Melissa Benoist's Body Language regarding Jeb Bush's Supergirl "Hot" comment