The moment below is a small segment of Presidents Obama's and Castro's joint press conference yesterday in Havana. The Cuban leader was apparently trying to clarify a particular issue with an aide when Barack called them out for their faux pas. What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis of this interaction.
President Obama's head-neck is in process of Turning to his left
Note his Asymmetric Mouth and slightly thinned lips
This configuration displays both Anger and Contempt.
Surprising to most people is the normal physiology of eyelid closure when the head is turned beyond a certain speed (this can however be consciously suppressed).
Barack's eyes are opened wide - considerably wider than baseline - and here signalling significant anger projected in this moment.
Slightly less eyelid opening (anger is in decrescendo)
His pointing several times (this was the first) is quite significant as well - What thought-emotions do you think this projects?
His eyelids are still opened wider than baseline as the President is
and Toward (a twisting or torquing of his torso) the Aide and Mr. Castro.
Nonverbally this cluster loudly telegraphs the message, "Excuse me!" just prior him speaking precisely these same words.
as Mr. Obama verbally says, "Excuse me!"
In this instant lip biting indicates a successful attempt at down-regulating his anger.
Winking - an emblem which here serves to lift President Obama further out of anger and elevates his emotion (as well as the audience's) further.
This nonverbal as well as the lip biting just before are forms of Biofeedback that we all use (the President more skillfully than others) to steer our emotions and avoid extremes.
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