Friday, March 2, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1211:
Tiger's Eyes -
Subtle Signal, Severe Anger

In this video of Tiger Woods during a recent interview, there is a great example of a subtle signal of severe anger, aka rage. While some have called this a "Stare Down", it is much more nuanced - and the value is in the details. At the 0:52, Alex Miceli a writer from GolfWeek, asks Tiger if it was true that he was considering at one time joining the Navy SEALs at the height of his golf career (referring to Hank Haney's Book, The Big Miss).

The natural position of Tiger's upper eyelids are slightly lower compared with those of most people - that is, he has a mild amount of what is termed "congenital ptosis"(in the colloquial, he has slightly "droopy" eyelids). Thus when there is a change in position of his eyelids, we have to take this detail into account. 

With mild to moderate anger, there is a coming together of the eyelids (that is, the lower eyelids elevate and the upper eyelids are lowered). In common slang, this is often called a "squint" (although a squint can mean different things depending on the context and the other body language it is clustered with, for this discussion, think Clint Eastwood in, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). However in severe anger - aka Rage, the opposite occurs and the upper eyelid elevates while the lower eyelid pulls down (retract). This movement of the lids allows more "whites of the eye" (sclera) to be revealed. Again, Tiger Woods' upper eyelids, in a resting/relaxed state are lower than most people's, but in the seconds after the Navy SEAL question is asked, Tiger's upper lids elevate - indicating considerable anger (particularly at the 1:13 mark). His increased sympathetic nervous system activity and increased adrenaline is of course, unconscious. Tiger's mid-face tightening is also consistent with anger. He subsequently gets a handle on his negative emotion and his smiling even helps to diffuse it.

See also: Secret # 779: What Does Staring Indicate?

See also: Secret # 457: A Contempt Amplifier