Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3435: US Sailor captain Apologizes to Iran - Body Language (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Earlier today, the ten U.S. service members were released along with their two small vessels after being held captive overnight by Iran. Due to an apparent navigational error and/or mechanical problems, their boats had Iranian waters in the North-central region of the Persian Gulf.

The above video shows Lt. David Narker, presumably the most senior U.S. officer present, being interrogated and apologizing "for our mistake".

Beginning at 0:27 an Iranian questioner/translator says, "What problem, what matter that you penetrated in Iran territorial water?"

Lt. David Nartker answers, "It was a mistake. That was our fault - and we apologize - for our mistake."

It has been repeatedly asked by members of the press and others if this statement was sincere, offered freely - or coerced.

Immediately after the sailor finished the end of his above sentence (during 0:36), he displayed a subtle, yet highly significant "Self-Righteous Head Wiggle" (SRHW). This is impossible to capture on a still image - please view the video above to appreciate the dynamic nature of this crucial nonverbal tell.

This image is from the 0:37 mark. Here the sailor is displaying mild anger and contempt.

The he tilts his head/neck backward - and his facial expression of contempt morphs into disgust (0:39).

This brief head tilt in this cluster context indicates a highly determined mental-emotional tone.

What other nonverbal tells did you see on Captain Nartker? What were the primary emotions exhibited by the other U.S. sailors?


Anytime a person's verbal language and body language are disparate - it's the nonverbal signals which are always tell the truth. This was certainly the case in this video. Without question, Lt. David Nartker was making this statement against his will.  

Although Lt. Nartker probably has very little, if any, nonverbal training and certainly has never been captured or interrogated - and moreover, knowing this video would shortly become viewed the World-over, he does a very good job at suppressing his strong emotions.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3434: Donald Trump and the Verbal vs. Nonverbal Disparity

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3308: Hillary Clinton's Apology - Certainly Late, Yet Was It Sincere?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2705: Congressman Michael Grimm Apology - Sincere or Not?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2863: Gary Oldman's Apology on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" - Sincere or Insincere?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3234: Whole Foods Market, Message to Customers, Damage Control and Body Language Faux Pas

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3115: Giuliana Rancic apologizes to Zendaya Coleman comment made regarding her dreadlocks at the Oscars - that she "smells like patchouli oil and weed" on "Fashion Police" - Is She Sincere? 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 1552: The Self-Righteous Head Wiggle & The Buffett Rule 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3243: Bryan Cranston's Body Language at the 2015 Comic-Con