Sunday, December 4, 2011

Body Language Secret # 491:
Eyes White and Wide

This demonstrator being arrested in the "Occupy Wall Street" movement (here specifically, "Occupy Los Angeles" protest), shows us his eyes in a classic "White and Wide" nonverbal signal. This facial tell is highly consistent with the body language sign of fear. His momentary increased adrenaline, among other physiologic changes, results in both the upper and lower lids retracting, exposing considerably more "whites of the eyes" (sclera) than normal. If we were close enough, or this image was of higher resolution, we would also see his pupils dilated wider than usual - also consistent with the emotion and physiology of fear. This eye finding may also be seen with the emotions of extreme anger (rage) as well as that of surprise - however if either of these were present, there would be additional changes evident on his face.