Sunday, April 22, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1697:
George Zimmerman in Shackles -
How does this Alter His Body Language,
Testimony and Our Perception?

From a body language point-of-view, Mr. Zimmerman should not have his arms or hands bound while in court. If he had the full use of these, any facial touching or other Manipulators, Adaptors or Pacifiers (aka MAPs) would signal anxiety - and along with many other nonverbals, these would give greater insight into any guilt or innocence. A significant portion of the value of an in-person testimony is lost by shackling him. 

Additionally, we are placing anyone who testifies in hand-cuffs, shackles, etc. - in a situation which would cause any person to have great anxiety. By making Zimmerman, or anyone else testify in such a state, we engender anger, contemptuousness, fear, etc. - all of which he manifested in short video in yesterday's post (see Secret # 1696: George Zimmerman's Testimony). This premise is true of an innocent man as well as a guilty one. Thus we alter the situation causing someone to look more guilty than they otherwise would.

The opposite scenario is true as well. During the swearing-in process, if one is not allowed to lift their left hand high, rather only a third as high as they normally would (seen in this video during the 0:54 - 0:58 marks) - he/she will feel less obligated to tell the truth. It's the equivalent of a child's behavior of crossing their fingers behind the back when making a promise. 

Keeping people partially bound changes the way people behave and are perceived - and it's a dis-service to the legal process in both directions. If we strive to keep the justice system truly impartial, these are important considerations.

See also:

Secret # 1491 Barack Obama on Trayvon Martin ...."If I had a Son, He'd look like Trayvon"

Secret # 1548: Trayvon Martin's Death - George Zimmerman's First Court Room Appearance