Friday, May 4, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1773:
Junior Seau's Body Language During His Last Interview

This is a very short, but telling interview segment of Junior Seau filmed approximately 36 hours before his suicide. The dialog is somewhat difficult to hear. However, if we evaluate his body language, we see a "cluster" of several signs of sadness. 

First look at Seau's mouth - at no time does it remotely resemble a smile or any positive emotion. While there are no signals of anger, contempt or disgust - his mouth does exhibit subtle-mild sadness. Note the tension in the "mustache area" and the down-turned mouth corners. During the 0:20 - 0:21 clip, Mr. Seau displays an "Inward Lip Roll" (ILR). The ILR is one of many nonverbal signals of anxiety - but more specifically, the ILR is a strong signal that the psyche is trying to control a more overt display and crescendo of a negative emotion. 

Simultaneous with the ILR, Junior looks with his eyes - down and to HIS right. There is also a similar re-orienting of his head/neck with a turn, rotation and flexion in this same inferior-right quadrant. Looking in this quadrant, particularly with the eyes as well as the head/neck - is highly consistent with negative emotions, especially sadness.

See also:

Secret # 926: President Obama and When Not to Ask for the Sale

Secret # 617: Ginger White and Herman Cain

Secret # 171: A Subtle Sign of Sadness

Secret # 1499: Bill Clinton's Empathy for Eric Ferhnstrom and Mitt Romney

Secret # 1709: Peyton Manning's Agent does Not Fully Believe

A third nonverbal occurring at the same time as the ILR and the down-and-right gaze is a bilateral eyelid closure. This "extended blinking" is indicative of the emotional mind trying to "block out" or erase images/ideas/feelings. We all do this much more frequently than we believe. Our words are often watered down, but this is a strong signal of emotional processing and trying to digest negative feelings.

Junior's central forehead is contracted during this entire segment (note the lateral portions are relaxed). When this central forehead nonverbal is displayed in the context of a mouth expressing sadness or fear - either emotional or physical pain (or both) are always present. The pain may be directly experienced or indirectly felt via empathy. 

In short, Junior Seau displays a concentrated nonverbal cluster of sadness in this short interview just before his death.

My sincere condolences to Junior Seau's Family and Friends.