Maybe you've heard - Angela Merkel gave Vladimir Putin an Eye Roll yesterday at the G20 Summit. This particular eye roll will be shown for decades.
But what emotions are indicated by an eye roll?
- Impatient Dismissal
There are certainly other body language signals for both of these emotions. Intriguingly though, an eye roll has a much more conscious component. That is to say, while the vast majority of nonverbal behavior is subconsciously initiated - the eye roll is significantly consciously driven. It's openly declaring:
"I am dismissing you/your opinion - and/or I have contempt for you - and I want you to know it."
In the next moment, the German Chancellor suppresses a second eye roll (while fixating her gaze in the mid-distance). This moment provides a fantastic illustration of a phenomenon known as "Leakage" - describing how, when we suppress a nonverbal signal in one area - it readily "Leaks" out in other places.
What do we see during this leakage?
Angela Merkel's jaw clenches - and her lips become thinned. This is significant for anger. In addition, her jaw and lips retract (vectoring backward) along with significant tension in the region above her upper lip and below her nose. This is an expression of partially suppressed disgust. The flaring of her nostrils overlaps into both disgust and anger.
Summary: Angela Merkel has open contempt and dismissal toward Vladimir Putin - and she wants him to know it. She also feels anger and disgust for the Russian President.
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