Monday, September 19, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 280: Contradictory Signals

This image of United Kingdom's Prime Minister, David Cameron is a great example of contradictory body language signals. Mr. Cameron's central forehead is contracted. This is extremely common when there is physical or emotional pain-distress being felt, either directly experienced or via empathy.  It is the primary and most important emotional "tell" displayed here. The Prime Minister's eyebrows are also consistent with his forehead expression. However, note the obvious "thumbs-up" gesture as well as his mild-to-moderate attempt at a social smile (the lower teeth exposure here is a sure sign of an insincere and forced smile) - both of these are in direct disagreement with his primary emotion of pain-distress. Whenever the central forehead is contracted - and this is accompanied by positive signals elsewhere in the body or face - the alarms should sound. There always is an important reason for this combination.