Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1705:
François Hollande & the French Presidential Election
The Pistol Steeple and Emotional Dissonance

François Hollande won the first round of French Presidential elections over the weekend. The incumbent, Nicholas Sarkozy finished second by about 1.5% (eight other candidates were eliminated). The two will meet in a run-off election on May 5 &6 to determine the next leader of France.

See also:  

Secret # 531: Sarkozy's Mouth Tells Us What He's Feeling
Secret # 493: Contrasting David Cameron and Nicholas Sarkozy - Alpha & Beta Behavior

Secret # 743 & 744: Sarkozy's Shhhh! - and a Partial Emblematic Slip

Mr. Hollande displays a "Pistol Steeple" (aka "Handgun Steeple") in this recent image. This variation of the steeple gesture is a great example of emotional dissonance. If all his fingers were interlocked, it would be a purer (and much more beta) body language symbol. This nonverbal sends mixed messages though. With the two forefingers steepled, this gesture indicates a significantly higher alpha emotional tone. It would be wise if Francois would use this gesture on rare occasions and only for a second or two - since it is also an amalgam of the double index finger point. The handgun steeple is patronizing and condescending. This effect is amplified when the hands/arms are moved up and down in a chopping motion - and further dialed up with higher and faster movements.

Only those who view themselves as superior (see below) will use this variation pistol steeple. Accordingly, in political settings it tends to be used only in front of very friendly crowds (lest it backfire) - but it's still not recommended.

A further variant of the pistol steeple (aka the Double Shhh! Sign - and not exampled by here Hollande, See: Analysis # 1711: Charles Taylor, Sierra Leone and the Double Shhh! Sign) is used in front of the mouth, with the two forefingers (index fingers) pressed up against the lips. While this may look similar, its position connotes an entirely different meaning.

See also:

Secret #349: Pointing with Two Fingers (or More)

Secret # 1224: Two Handed Index Finger Point

Secret # 1233: Putin's Pen Point

Since most of the fingers are interlocked - and thus this is a type of MAP (manipulator, adaptor or pacifier), the pistol steeple also demonstrates the presence of defensiveness, closed-mindedness and beta-feelings. While these are not the primary emotions expressed (or felt) in this moment, they do play a role in the mind and subsequent actions of those expressing it. When the elbows are held closer to the sides of the body, these beta traits are amplified. If the elbows are further out - the beta component drops (note Mr. Hollande is intermediately positioned).

The pistol steeple therefore expresses emotional dissonance. There are both alpha and beta feelings present. If you see this signal, particularly in the work place or in the context of a relationship, it is a warning sign.

See also:

Analysis # 1650: Ozzie Guillen Gets Suspended By Miami Marlins Team President

Secret # 1143: Santorum Video Analysis - R2E2 and Other Tells