This website serves as a reference source for the art and science of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the author. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc., are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts – not to advance any political, religious or other agenda.
Earlier today Barack Obama announced several specific executive actions he will be initiating regarding gun control. During his speech, when he brought up the Shooting at Sandy Hook, the President shed some tears. From a body language perspective, during 1:09 - 1:11, you can see the President's jaw thrust laterally (to his left). In this cluster-context, his jaw movement is indicative of an effort (partially subconscious, partially conscious) toward the suppression of sincere tears.
Of course in this setting we can see the President is indeed crying - yet many times, a person's emotions and pre-tears status are not so obvious or seen by most people (e.g., He made a similar movement to his right during 0:14). Moreover, often times this technique (and others) work well - with eyes never turning red and with no tears are being shed (however it's profoundly valuable to have this extra level of insight into someone's psyche).
There are many other nonverbal signals commonly displayed when someone is trying not to cry. How many can you name?
Lateral Jaw Thrust Left with secondary tongue component
1:09 - 1:11
Lateral Jaw Thrust Right
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3425: Donald Trump's first Campaign Ad Commercial
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2705: Congressman Michael Grimm Apology - Sincere or Not?
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3099: Jon Stewart Announces he's Leaving "The Daily Show" - A Classic Body Language Cluster
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3221: Gov. Nikki Haley Choking Back Tears - is She Sincere?
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3058: Stuart Scott's ESPY Award Speech - a Common Yet Very Under-appreciated Signal of Sadness/Grief Suppression
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2617: Walter Cronkite Announces President John Kennedy's Death - Body Language and Suppression of Grief
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2639: Denver School Shooting and a Body Language of High Empathy
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2231: A Common Facial Expression of Mass Killers - Using Body Language as a Threat Assessment Tool