Saturday, December 31, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 333:
A Common False Diagnosis:
The Asymmetrical Sincere but Suppressed Smile

When an asymmetrical smile is seen, it is very important to consider the emotions being displayed are either a feigned joy-happiness (thus an insincere smile) or contempt (see Body Language and Advertising Secret # 101: Contempt Doesn't Sell). An additional possibility however, is a sincere smile which is being partially suppressed - which is what we see very well exampled here on Matthew McConaughey's face. In this photo he's seen with his fiancee' and Camila Alves. Although the resolution is somewhat low in this image, we can clearly see his bilaterally partially closed eyelids. This dynamic partial closure is required for the smile to be sincere. Additionally though (as pointed out in higher detail in another recent post: Secret # 353: Brad Pitt's Eyes - Sincere and Insincere Smiles), another tell tale signal which must be present for the smile to be sincere, is the concave-up furrows temporarily created in the lower eyelids (seen above on Mr. McConaughey's left eye). If these furrows are NOT seen, even if the eyelids are partially closed - the smile is NOT sincere - and thus it's huge Nonverbal Red Flag signal. But this is certainly not the case here - for Matthew and Camila are now engaged and McConaughey's smile is sincere, just partially suppressed. Congratulations!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 179:
Loss of Inhibitions on Phone

When talking on the phone, it is very common to have less filtering of our emotions and emotional displays (e.g., a loss of inhibition), thus significantly more (unconscious) nonverbal tells may be seen. Ergo when observing for baseline body language, when possible - it's particularly valuable to observe others for their phone behavior. It's a short cut into their psyche.

In this image, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is exhibiting a classic fear display - an emotion rarely displayed in public by a head of state. His eyelids are opened significantly wider than normal ("eyes white and wide") along with an elevation of his eyebrows (asymmetrically here, more on the right - indicating the additional nonverbal tell of skepticism) and forehead contraction/elevation. His lower teeth are on display with the corners of his mouth pulled back (laterally) towards his ears. The underside of his jaw is tensed, giving a "double chin" appearance - this occurs because of the contraction of the platysma muscle which often additionally "tents up" the front of the neck & throat (although this is not exampled well in Mr. Sarkozy, see Negotiation Secret # 329: The Neck of Fear).


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 412:
Newt Gingrich is Incredulous

Newt Gingrich is feeling incredulous. Although there are other nonverbal facial expressions indicating disbelief, the possible 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate gives us a classic and common one. When the central forehead is contracted along with a smile - the emotion is doubt. Newt's central forehead contraction is mild and asymmetrical (only on Gingrich's right side) - thus it's more difficult to detect (note there is also a right medial eyebrow elevation). If we saw a video of this moment - it might very well be an example of a microexpression (present for less than 0.5 seconds). Normally when one sees the muscular contraction of the central forehead - there is a simultaneous negative mouth expression - such as fear or sadness. In such a context, it is a body language signal of strong empathy, emotional or physical pain. However when coupled with a smile (and here it is a subtle one) - a red flag should always go up. This is one of many examples of an insincere smile. The former Speaker of the House does not believe what he's hearing or seeing.


Negotiation Body Language Secret # 392:
Christmas Cheer -
Kate Middleton's and Prince William's Suppressed Smiles

This photo of Prince William, Prince Charles and Kate Middleton (Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) attending Christmas Day services at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Norfolk, Sandringham, shows both William and Kate with different mouth configurations, yet with similar eyes. The newly weds both are wearing suppressed smiles. Most people don't realize that a sincere, felt smile is not present unless a characteristic appearance of the eyes occur (Ekman). In order for a smile to be true, there must always be a dynamic and partial eyelid closure. And yet it is not this simple....

Some will tell you to look for "crows feet" when assessing "eye smiles" - but I caution against this for several reasons. After one reaches their mid-thirties, most everyone has some degree of crow's feet. Moreover an increase or decrease in these wrinkles are difficult to qualify, let alone quantify when the face is moving. A much more accurate and dynamic eye metric for identifying sincere smiles - is to look for eyelid closure. There is essentially no variance in iris size from person to person, so along with how much white of the eye (sclera) is visible - this adjacent anatomy serve as excellent yardsticks to quantify eyelid closure.

For a sincere smile though - simple partial eyelid closure is not enough nonverbal. There are different muscles used depending on the emotional reason for this action (See Secret # 353: Brad Pitt's Eyes - Sincere and Insincere Smiles). Sincere smiles must always have the characteristic concave-up furrow on the lower eyelids as well as their partial closure - as seen here very well on Prince William and to a somewhat lesser extent on Kate. Both are trying to suppress their sincere, felt smiles.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 334:
Fear and Surprise - as Bulls Beat Lakers

On Christmas Day, the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Chicago Bulls, 88-87. In this image of the Lakers' Troy Murphy crashing into the court side audience, there are two primary emotions on display. The lady dressed in black, with the long dark hair, immediately to Murphy's back-left (our right) has her mouth opened in the classic oval-round surprise configuration with a dropped jaw. Her eyes are closed in a protective reflex. Surprise is the briefest of all our emotions. If it lasts longer than a couple of seconds, it may very well have a feigned component - or perhaps is entirely insincere. Although it is difficult to see, the man in the white shirt to her left has his eye lids opened wide and his forehead and eyebrows are raised - also nonverbals indicative of surprise.

On the opposite side of Murphy are both a man a woman with their mouth's in a classic fear expression. It is very possible that just prior to this photo, they both exhibited surprise. The emotion of surprise is nearly always rapidly followed by a second emotion - e.g., fear, anger, embarrassment, joy-happiness, etc.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 273:
Anger and Disgust in Azerbaijan

On the streets of Baku earlier this year, an Azerbaijani police officer detains a protester of the Musavat (opposition) Party. In the midst of the arrest, he exhibits two strong emotions. His protruded jaw, known as a "Jaw Jut" is a classic nonverbal signal of significant anger. Moreover, it is particularly common when the anger is strong enough to be a harbinger of, or coexists with a physical action (nearly always directed at the perceived source of anger). Thus, when you see this body language displayed, be warned, for violence is often imminent. 

In addition, the officer's bilateral and symmetrical nostril flaring, deepened nasal-labial furrows, tightening of his "mustache region" and raised upper lip - all indicate the emotion of disgust. Emotions rarely exist in isolation - often two or three are simultaneous and quite evanescent.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 517:
Respect for Václav Havel

Normally when hands are clasped in front of the groin or waist - it is a signal of low confidence and/or low emotional comfort (Pease, Navarro). The nonverbal term for this configuration is the "Fig Leaf" or "Genital Guarding". It is a pose which should be, for the most part, be avoided. The above image demonstrates one notable exception however. Onlookers here naturally adopt this body language to show reverence for playwright, poet, essayist, dissident, and first President of the Czech RepublicVaclav Havel during his recent funeral.


Negotiation Body Language Secret # 393:
Lying more common while Texting

Researchers at University of British Columbia, Sauder School of Business in Vancouver, have just published a study showing that people are significantly more likely to lie when texting compared with in-person, video or audio chat. The more information one has with which to judge another's honesty - such as nonverbal communication and/or paralanguage - the more likely they are to detect lies and the less likely a person is to deceive or attempt to deceive them. The authors go on to suggest the wisdom of speaking via video Skype to ensure a higher degree of trustworthiness when conducting business via websites such as eBay. Intriguingly, the researchers also demonstrated that people who are lied to via "leaner media" (e.g. texting, twitter, etc.) are more angry when they are deceived, than those lied to with "richer media such as video chat".


Body Language Secret # 334:
The Happiest Country is.......

The happiest country on Earth according to a recent pole is Norway, followed closely by Denmark and Australia.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 991:
Closed Minds and Closed Necks
A Nonverbal Metaphor for Oppression

The recent death of North Korean leader Kim Yong-il (pictured above) should jogs our collective memories. An interesting example of body language is the way one chooses to dress over the long-term. Of course, while there are certainly temporal variation in fashions as well as regional and cultural influences - it is no coincidence, that many of the most oppressive leaders though out history have constantly worn garments which fit tightly around their necks. The nonverbal symbolism shown here is more than eerie - and unfortunately there are many more evil case histories. Such metaphorical dress code habits are strong indicators of closed and defensive mindsets as well as dictatorial world-views (Navarro). Five examples are pictured here. From top to bottom are Kim Yong-il, Joseph Stalin, Adi Amin Dada, Muammar Gaddafi, and Napoleon Bonaparte.

With their narrow mindsets and oppressive natures, all these dictators were rarely seen with open garments.

     Joseph Stalin

    Idi Amin Dada

     Napoleon Bonaparte


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dating & Romance Body Language Secret # 363:
Simon Cowell, Kissing and Lack of Affection

Simon Cowell is shown here kissing his girl friend, Mezhgan Hussainy on the Jay Leno Show. Not too many of us kiss our significant others on national T.V. But if you ever get the opportunity, it's good advice not to conduct yourself in a perfunctory manner. If true affection is the primary emotional driver, the eyes are virtually always closed. If not, it's a strong indicator the emotions are being focused elsewhere ... or worse. We close our eyes during a kiss in an effort to heighten the affection we are feeling and "drink in" the entire experience. The visual portion of our Brain accounts for 40 percent of its mass and vision is responsible for 90 percent of our sensory input. Thus when we close our eyes, less energy and resources are needed for sight - so there is a temporary increase in relative blood flow and function to the non-visual parts of our brains. This, coupled with the decrease in visual sensory stimulus load, naturally heightens touch, smell, taste and hearing - as well as our cognitive and emotional ability. When emotions other than affection and love are a higher priority - the eyes remain open. All this is regulated subconsciously. A pattern of repeated lack of eyelid closure during kissing (and hugging) - is a very strong indicator of waning or feigned love & affection.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 353:
Brad Pitt's Smiling Eyes -
Sincere and Insincere Smiles

One requirement for a smile to be sincere, is there has to be dynamic momentary partial closure of the eye lids. Without a partial eye lid closure, the smile is insincere. Period. I wish to strongly emphasize that this does not mean the person as a whole is insincere - merely that in that moment, regardless of what their mouth looks like or what words are being spoken - they are having to "push out" what is known as a "Social Smile" (Ekman). They are acting happy (or happier) than their true emotions in that moment.

Here are two images of Brad Pitt's eyes. The mouth's were similar in the original photos - but I wanted to isolate his eyes for a great nonverbal teaching point.

When a sincere smile is made, the eye lids partially close - but it is primarily a secondary, passive closing. This closure is caused by a contraction of the orbicularis oculi (pars orbitalis) muscles which, in a sincere smile are always subconsciously controlled. This muscular contraction causes the lower lids to bunch up in a very characteristic fashion creating a concave-up furrow (crease) in the lower eye lids. This is wonderfully exampled in the image above.

In contrast, the photo below shows Brad Pitt at the same age, with his eye lids are closed in an identical amount. Notice that there are no creases/furrows in his lower lids in this image though. This is because a different muscle is being used to close the lids - the orbicularis oculi (pars palpebralis). This is consciously controlled  in a forced "social smile" and thus even when great actors are "trying to smile" - they often have a difficult time doing so. This is why method acting is so valuable. 

In conclusion, not only must all sincere smiles have partial, momentary partial eye lid closure - you must see this characteristic furrow in the lower lids as well. Otherwise - the smile is NOT sincere.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 743 and 744:
Sarkozy's Shhhh!
and a Partial Emblematic Slip

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is showing us several significant nonverbal signals in this image. Certainly we all know the "Shsss!", "Quiet", "Don't speak" symbol - holding a finger up to the mouth. 
Even without making a noise, its meaning was obvious to us all early in childhood. Sarkozy doesn't like what he's hearing and he's subconsciously "shsssing" the speaker. But Nicolas is also displaying another nonverbal in this image.

An emblem is a term used to describe a very specific sign that has a precise meaning within a culture or geographic region - and occasionally it's a nearly universal signal throughout most of the World. A "Partial Emblematic Slip" (Ekman) is when such an emblem is displayed in a non-traditional position and subconsciously generated. Such is the case here - for Mr. Sarkozy's subconscious is not only trying to quiet the speaker - but he's also cursing at him/her with the universal emblem, "giving the middle finger" aka "the bird"

When this partial emblematic slip (or any other negative nonverbal) is accompanied by positive words, statements and answers, etc. - there is an obvious and dramatic disparity present between what is felt and what is being said. Never believe the words, as this is very strong signal of deception (Ekman).

See also:

Nonverbal Analysis # 531: Sarkozy's Mouth Tells Us What He's Feeling


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 355:
Barry gets 30 Days House Arrest
Duping Delight

Barry Bonds received a sentence of two years probation, thirty days house arrest and 250 hours of community service today for an obstruction of justice conviction in connection with his 2003 testimony of an investigation of BALCO and performance enhancing drugs in professional sports. In this image taken earlier today, Bonds' left corner of his mouth is slightly upturned - while his right side is oriented straight laterally or maybe slightly down-turned (the angle of this photo makes it difficult to tell). At first glance, we may call this a very subtle (left-sided) contempt - however since his left nostril is not flared (or if anything it's slightly smaller than his right side), we are left with the conclusion that this is a great example of the nonverbal phenomenon "Duping Delight" (Ekman). Barry knows he has pulled one over on us and gotten off with a easy sentence - and indeed he has. Bonds is trying to suppress his smile, and yet he can't quite squelch his happiness - and a bit of this delight leaks through onto his face. He believes we've been duped.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 375:
Signals of Confidence,
Non-Engagement and Defeat

In the Sioux City Republican debate last night, Newt Gingrich used a modified version of the basketball steeple. His variation shown here, is with his hands more widely apart than usual - and he also tends to use a vertical-chop motion. The vertical-chop is dynamic is not necessarily advisable - as it can transmit negative emotions if used too often or too forcefully. 

In general though, the basketball steeple is a very good gesture to use. Unlike the conventional steeple (which is dramatically over-used by those in power positions and large egos), the basketball steeple projects feelings of confidence and authority - without arrogance. Unless the conventional steeple is used very sparingly and strategically it will signal patronizing and condescending emotions (See: Negotiation Secret # 277: The Conventional Steeple: Use it on Rare Events and in Small Doses).

A negative nonverbal displayed here by Mitt Romney - is that incredibly, he's has his placed left hand (and perhaps his right one as well) in his pants pocket. Stop doing this Mitt! Any debate coach will tell you that this sends messages of non-engagement and acquiescence - which are two signals you never want to send when you're running for President! It's as if you're conceding a point to Newt here. Putting hands in our pockets will even make us feel and thus become less confident. When you're on stage - you never want to over-alpha the crowd (see Gov. Rick Perry's negative example in: A tale of two Ricks .....), but you also never want to appear - and thus become too beta either.


Negotitation Body Language Secret # 717:
A Tale of Two Ricks,
Where to Point
....and Not to Point

At the final Republican Debate prior to the Iowa Caucuses (Jan. 3, 2012) last night in Sioux City, Rick Santorum demonstrated one of the few directions a speaker should ever point with their index finger extended in the classic pointing gesture - Up. The only other direction advisable is at oneself. Governor Rick Perry however, points at the audience - which any debate coach will tell you, is a major nonverbal faux pas. Pointing at another is universally negatively received by audiences the World over (Pease) and should be strongly avoided. Interestingly, even when a candidate (or anyone else) points at someone else, this evokes feelings of empathy for those being pointed at - ergo Perry loses votes every time he points.


Negotiation Body Language Secret # 291:
Obama and Biden,
Visual-Emotional Blocking

I don't know what U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden heard and/or saw the moment just prior to this photo, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that neither man liked it. Unlike the single-eye rub (see: Negotiation Body Language Secret # 199: When a Lie is Told, Heard or Visualized ... by Vladimir's Eye), when we rub both of our eyes simultaneously, it's as if we are telling our psyches, "I wish I never saw that", or "I can't believe he did that", etc. We are trying to wipe it from our minds. People will also display this body language tell when recalling a past event in the "mind's eye" or even when visualizing a potential future (negative) event. Incredibly, those who are born blind will even perform this nonverbal maneuver when they hear or recall something negative. It's a highly accurate and very reliable signal. If you see it displayed - never ignore or discount it.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 331:
Corzine's False and Bitter Smile

In this photo, President Obama was giving political support to Jon Corzine in his effort to get re-elected in 2010 as the Governor of New Jersey. Corzine eventually lost to Chris Christie. Contrasting these two men's faces: President Obama has a sincere smile - only his top teeth are visible and he's "smiling with his eyes" nicely. With respect to Barack's eyes, his lower lids bunch-up in a manner highly characteristic with a true, felt smile (Ekman) - whereas Jon Corzine's lids, although partially closed (which is absolutely required in a sincere smile), have a different look to them - there's no "puckering-up" of the lower lid present as is seen on the President's face [this characteristic pucker occurs via the contraction of the orbicularis oculi (pars orbitalis) muscles - which most of the time it is subconsciously stimulated]. Corzine's eyes are being closed with a different muscle however [the orbicularis oculi (pars palpebralis) - when this is used in an attempt to smile - it is consciously controlled] - so they look quite different - and ergo Corzine's smile isn't sincere. In fact, Jon Corzine's "false smile" in this photo indicates bitterness and regret.

Moreover look at Corzine's mouth. The contour of his lips are concave-down, rather than concave up as they should be with any true smile. Of course we all know this without being taught in the first days of our lives - even those who are born blind! Incredible as it seems, virtually everyone who makes a facial expression as Corzine is doing in this image (which occurs very often), believes in the moment, that they are making a slight-to-modest smile. This particular facial expression is one of the most common and demonstrative examples I know of showing the lack of emotional proprioceptive awareness from which most people suffer. It's a very profound disconnect. Most of us aren't really very aware of what our faces and bodies are doing in space and time. This emotional awareness disparity is even wider when the emotions present are negative ones - like anxiety, anger or fear. 


Negotiation Body Language Secret # 817:
Anger and Steroids in Milwaukee

Say it ain't so Ryan. Well, it doesn't matter what Ryan Braun, left fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers may say - because his blood tested positive for performance enhancing drugs (PED) and his face says anger. When the eyes are open wider than normal - as they certainly are here - fear, surprise and moderate to severe anger should come immediately to mind. Specifically, there are more "whites of the eyes" (sclera) exposed in this image - and in body language colloquial, I call these eyes "white and wide". Neither surprise or fear is displayed on Ryan's face. This emotion is anger. 

In addition to his eyes, take note of Braun's upper lip. It is thinned and stretched laterally. His "mustache area" is also tightened - as is his entire mid-face. Ryan's nostrils (especially on his right) are flared - consistent with anger, contempt and disgust - but also with athletic activity. However, since his mouth isn't open - and thus he's not out of breath - these nostril findings reinforce the nonverbal gesture cluster of anger.

It is interesting to note that with abnormally high levels of testosterone, as those found in Braun's blood samples, have been correlated with what has become known as " 'Roid Rage" - a significantly higher incidence of aggressiveness, hostility, anxiety and paranoid ideation.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 385:
Lack of Eye Contact in the Context of Guilt

While lack of eye contact can indicate other emotions, depending on the other nonverbals, paralanguage and verbal context it's clustered with - guilt is certainly the emotional context in this video. A very courageous woman Heidi Damon, confronts her attacker (Javon Cooper). He was found guilty for sexual assault and attempted murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. 

She went on to say, "I am not the victim, I am the victor." She went on to say, "My name is Heidi Elizabeth Damon. I have a name. I have a name that will go on forever. You have a number and the title of the crimes that you've committed. Your name is 'Sex Offender, Attempted Murderer', Nice to put you away.' 


Negotiation Body Language Secret # 552:
Another Course of Action &
Rashida Jones' Mouth

The beautiful and talented Rashida Jones, shown here as Ann Perkins in "Parks and Recreation" gives us a mouth configuration that, at first glance, is similar to that exemplified in an earlier post regarding Chicago Bears quarterback, Jay Cutler. The difference is quite significant though. Jay's mouth had demonstrated open consideration (a mind not yet made up, in an open non-secretive manner), but Rashida's (Ann's) mouth is closed and her mid-face is tightened. Her lips are also thinned - particularly her upper lip. This takes on a negative and critical-evaluation quality. It's very possible that a few moments before Miss Jones mouth was identical in appearance to Mr. Cutler's - but in the midst of a decision making process, something has pushed her character in the negative direction. There are certainly more extreme examples of this nonverbal (this is moderate), however I'm continually amazed by the educated, experienced and otherwise successful people who cannot detect moderate, let alone subtle body language signals. To give yourself an huge advantage, you must see the nuance - when others miss, gloss over or discount it.

On a side note, understanding nonverbal communication well completely changes the way you appreciate acting and gravitate towards movies and television (and all human interaction). It's and educated guess - but it's very probable that Rashida is a method actor - anyone know? Most everyone can memorize a line, but great acting matches the words, the paralanguage AND the body language into a congruent communicative art and suspends our disbelief. Thank you Miss Jones.


Negotiation Body Language Secret # 375:
Emotional Pain & Physical Pain

Luis Suarez ("El Pistolero" aka "The Gunslinger") the Uruguayan footballer star who plays for Liverpool is shown here after a recent missed opportunity. Luis is experiencing emotional pain and yet his face and hand/arm positions are identical to that of that of physical pain. If we saw him in a cafe' or certainly in a doctor's office, we may very well think Suarez is suffering a severe headache. When emotional pain is moderate to intense - this "blending of pain expressions" is an extremely common and even expected nonverbal characteristic - particularly if the cause of the emotional pain is recent.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 383:
Low Confidence, Corzine and Testimony

Baring a rotator cuff injury, when swearing-in, whether before congress or in a court room, it is a strong nonverbal signal of low confidence when the arm is not lifted high. This is former New Jersey Governor and U.S Senator Jon Corzine before the U.S. House Agriculture Committee last week. He proceeded to testify that he did not know the whereabouts of a missing $1.2 Billion that went missing while he was Chairman and CEO of MF Global.

See also: Negotiation Body Language Secret # 339: When a Lie is Heard or Told

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 813:
Ask Osama Bin Laden about Appeasement

When President Obama is asked by a reporter for his reaction to others' accusations that he practices a foreign policy of appeasement (a few seconds of this and other videos of this press conference have been edited out here), President Obama responds, "Ask Osama Bin Laden... and the ... twenty-two out thirty top Al-Qaeda leaders ... who've been taken off the field .... ah ... whether I engage in appeasement ....". Just as the video cuts back to the President, and just prior to his answer (at 0:12), you will see President Obama exhibit a dramatic "Inward Lip Roll" (ILR). This is a bit different than the ILR sited a few days ago with French President Sarkozy (See:Negotiation Body Language Secret # 531: Sarkozy's Mouth Tells Us What He's Feeling, picture number two), where Nicolas rolls his lips between his teeth - gently biting down on them. In the example above however, President Obama is unable to do this, because his teeth are clenched (his jaw is shut tight). This is a strong and classic signal of anger. The clenched jaw may not be obvious to all - but if you watch carefully, you'll notice the area adjacent to Obama's lips bunch up - especially below his lower lip. For a couple seconds, they have nowhere else to go and the coexisting tension in the jaw muscles spills forward into a dramatic contraction of the area around the mouth and lips. 

The Inward Lip Roll tells us anxiety is present - however very often the particular anxiety of the ILR is an anger-related variety and commonly is also a signal of an effort to control and down-regulate a negative emotional display. While President Sarkozy's ILR (teeth open and lips bitten between them) has less of a component of anger, President Obama's ILR example here (teeth closed and lips bunched in front) is more consistent with a higher anger level. Although both men do an excellent job of controlling their negative emotions, we can better qualify the feelings of others' and also quantify their anger levels by contrasting these two valuable nonverbal tells.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 551:
Openly Weighing a Decision

This is Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. He's on the sidelines - injured with a broken thumb on his throwing hand. Cutler is watching his current team lose (13-10 in overtime) to his former team - the Denver Broncos....a difficult thing for anyone to watch. The Broncos have now won six games in a row under their new quarterback, Tim Tebow. This particular configuration of the mouth that Jay is showing us, is a nonverbal which highly consistent with someone openly weighing a decision. Thus it is very commonly seen with someone with sincere motives. If a person is trying to make a decision in a secretive manner they will NOT be wearing this nonverbal expression.

See also: Negotiation Body Language Secret # 552: Another Course of Action & Rashida Jones' Mouth


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Romance, Marriage and Dating - Body Language Secret No. 609: Going from High Heels to Flats and then back to Heels (PHOTO)

When a woman is close to, the same height or taller than her husband or boy friend - she will very often stop wearing high heels and wear shoes with low heels or even flats. This is very prevalent nonverbal early in the relationship. She does this for several reasons - to make him feel more masculine - and to make herself feel more feminine. In addition, particularly if he is shorter than average - she does not want to remind him of his short stature (super models, Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy, etc., excluded).

Thus when the opposite occurs - and a woman begins to wear high heels significantly more often (and her male partner is short in either a relative or absolute sense), especially if she deliberately wore shorter heels or flats early in the relationship - this can be a strong warning signal of a drifting apart in the relationship (waning of affection) or even an affair (a notable exception here is for a job which dictates a change in professional attire).

One obvious reason for this body language-shoe change is the desire to be attractive to other potential partners. It is just as common however, that this is a symptom of a "turning off" or "dialing down" of empathy and affection for their soon to be Ex-boyfriend/Ex-husband. Affection and Empathy are strongly related to, and proportional to love.

Media Inquiries and Group Appearances 
One-on-One and Online Courses Available 


Negotiation Body Language Secret # 199:
When a Lie is Told, Heard or Visualized by
....Vladimir's Eye

When a person rubs their eyes, as with all Manipulators/Adaptors/Pacifiers (MAPs) - these are signals of increased anxiety. It seems Vladimir has some anxiety the last few days. Certainly not all anxiety is deception-related .... but a large percentage of it is. MAPs involving the face & neck have a significantly increased likelihood of lying-related anxiety when compared with MAPs elsewhere on the body. This is particularly true of the mouth, cheeks, nose, ears and eyes as well as the front (anterior) portion of the neck. 

Intriguingly, rubbing both eyes together (see: Secret # 291: Obama and Biden, Visual-Emotional Blocking) DOES indicate anxiety, but DOES NOT fit into the pattern of deception - only a single eye rub is correlated with lying. This applies when the lie is spoken or even visualized - e.g. when a deception is being planned/contemplated and has not yet taken place. It also occurs when the person who is rubbing their eye - hears or sees something which they believe to be deceptive (see Negotiation Secret # 29: Angela doubts Vladimir).

Pictured above of course, is Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin. Massive protesting across Russia has erupted in the last few days alleging corruption in the recent Parliamentary Elections (4 December 2011). The People's Freedom Party, the Communist Party, A Just Russia and the Liberal Democrats (all are political parties or organizations whom opposes Putin), gained a large number of seats, and yet Putin's party (United Russia) held onto a modest majority (238 vs. all other parties have 212 of the 450 total in the State Duma). Many are accusing Putin and his government of rigging the elections and are demanding an annulment with new elections.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 717:
Barry Bonds and the Obstruction of Justice

Federal prosecutors want Barry Bonds to go to Prison. They are seeking a sentence of 15 months for the former San Francisco Giants star. The charges stem from his obstruction of their investigation into BALCO, steroids, human growth hormone and other performance enhancing substances and their illegal sale and distribution to professional athletes.

The most common reason for a nose "itch" is not a rash, a nasal hair or allergic rhinitis - it's anxiety. This is also true for similar sensations elsewhere on the face and neck. There are many reasons for anxiety however, and deception is but one - but it's a very common one. Depending on the particular area touched/rubbed/itched/etc., the other nonverbals it is clustered with, the paralanguage and the statement analysis/language analysis - if you know what to look for, your ability to detect lies is very significantly enhanced.  

Everyone tells "white lies". The next time you tell one, or even think about telling one - if you're self-aware (everyone thinks they are - but this is true for very few) - you'll notice that somewhere on your face or neck will probably itch. You may be like Barry Bonds or Megan Fox (See Lie Detection Secret # 652: Megan Fox has got an Itch) and scratch your nose, you may be like Jon Corzine (See Negotiation Body Language Secret # 339: When a Lie is Heard or Told) and scratch next to your ear. It can even work in reverse, for if you hear or see something you believe to be deception, as Angela Merkel does here (see Negotiation Secret # 29: Eye Rub when some else is speaking - Angela doubts Vladimir) - you'll have similar sensations and may rub your eye like the German Chancellor.

Remember, there is no one body language signal for detecting a lie. Many things must be taken into account (see above) - including the honest person who experiences anxiety associated with being falsely accused. Paul Ekman calls this the "Othello error" after the character in the Shakespeare play of the same name, who falsely reads his wife's (Desdemona) signs of anxiety as that of guilt.


Negotiation Body Language Secret # 493:
Contrasting David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy -
Alpha & Beta Behavior

This video shows a great contrast in the Body Language of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron - as they speak on the U.K. not being given concessions and the ability to "opt-out" of financial rules of an EU treaty should they so choose. President Sarkozy displays significant low confidence posture throughout - with multiple shoulder shrugs, shoulder elevation/foreshortened neck (think of a turtle who's head is not quite withdrawn in its shell) as well as multiple palms up displays. His forehead is nearly constantly contracted and elevated along with his eyebrows. This forehead-eyebrow elevation tends to be strongly concomitant with the shoulder shrugs (and is a common manifestation of the shrug-gesture cluster).  All these collectively form and reinforce the nonverbal message of a beta, low confidence emotional mindset. Sarkozy's body language is strongly saying, "Don't blame me, what else could I do?" 

Interestingly, the French President also gives us a clear nose rub near the very end of his segment (1:32 mark) when he says, "...which according to the basic treaty, we are all destined to be in the Eurozone." His nose rub at this moment indicates a high probability he does not believe this.

Prime minister Cameron displays confidence for the duration with confident shoulder posture (no shrugs), an extended (confident) neck as well as multiple alpha, hand-arm displays such as the half and full basketball steeple, a brief low conventional steeple (it's good to be brief when displaying the traditional steeple) and an arm-not-fully-extended-fingers-held-loose-hand-chop (which should never be done with an extended finger point or with the arm fully extended). David Cameron is doing a very good job displaying confident, alpha leadership nonverbals. His words match his body language nicely.

European Commission President Jose' Manuel Barroso is shown in the final third of the video. At the 3:32 mark he rocks side to side (moderate frequency) and he repeats this just before the end of the clip. When a speaker displays this nonverbal, it's a strong indicator that he/she has high degree of confidence in what they are saying.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 339:
When a Lie is Heard or Told

Self-touching fits into a class of nonverbal behaviors that are known as Manipulators, Adaptors or Pacifiers (MAPs). MAPs are significant body language signals of anxiety. When the area being touched involves the ear, eye, nose, mouth, cheek or anterior (front) neck - there's an even higher correlation with deception. The remainder of the head and neck have a lower correlation with lying.

Jon Corzine, former Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, U.S. Senator and Governor of New Jersey testified before the U.S. House Agriculture Committee today. He resigned on November 4th of this year from MF Global, where he was CEO and Chairman since March 2010. MF Global declared bankruptcy on October 31, 2011 - the eighth largest in U.S. history. The company is under investigation by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Among other things, $1.2 billion is missing. Hmmm...

Corzine was asked repeatedly during his testimony about the missing money: "I don't know whether this is inadvertent. I don't know whether in the flows of transfers someone held on to some funds," Corzine said. "I don't have the ability other than to speculate where they would be."


Body Language Secret # 100:
Kate Middleton is Pregnant

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William attended a concert for The Prince's Trust held at Royal Albert Hall on 6 December 2011. There they met The X Factor hopefuls Marcus Collins (eight series) and Olly Murs (sixth series), as well as the musician/head judge Gary Barlow - all favorites of the royal couple. Kate wore a $99 dress made by Zara and a jacket care of Ralph Lauren. Zara's Lace Tulip dress subsequently sold-out within 24... World wide!

The real news however is that Kate is pregnant. Although there has been speculation about this, as there naturally would be for any so famous and so attractive a duchess and prince, there's been no announcement - verbally that is.... But Kate Middleton's body language has already made the announcement. Throughout the entire event Tuesday evening, she held her handbag very close to her central lower abdomen in an awkward but classic blocking-protective nonverbal tell - highly consistent with pregnancy. This can also be a body language signal of common low confidence-low comfort - but that clearly doesn't apply to Catherine. 

Most of the time Kate used this blocking maneuver with both arms/hands, however even when one hand was used, her handbag continued to be strategically placed. Its position even remained the same despite the switching of hands. Although she probably doesn't necessarily enjoy it, Kate's grown accustomed to being in the public eye. Alpha females don't carry their purses or handbags in such a manner unless there's a significant psychological or physiologic reason - and make no mistake - Kate's an Alpha Female. An image search for "Kate Middleton purse" clearly demonstrates that it is uncommon for her to carry her's this way - except for recently. In the context of pregnancy, this protective gesture is extremely common, highly predictive and very instinctual. Body Language is hard-wired into our brains and the protective behavior and emotion of motherhood is perhaps the strongest instinct.