Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1824:
Mexican Political Candidate Natalia Juarez -
Subtle Contempt

Natalia Juarez is a philosophy professor at the University of Guadalajara. She's also running for a congressional seat in the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PDR). A couple of weeks ago she decided to shake up the campaign and has posed in some controversial billboards. In one she appears topless with six other women, with breasts partially covered and left arms/hands raised in fists. The caption on the billboard reads, "I dare you to build a new project for a nation with no prejudices."

Guadalajara - the second largest in Mexico, is a politically conservative city, however Ms. Juarez, and the PDR are not. During the 0:55 - 1:17 segment of the above video, when Natalia says, "Conservative people are never going to vote for me, never! Even if I dressed as a nun and carried a rosary and said that my party was going to give away Bibles and rosaries, they wouldn't. Conservatives area never going to vote for me." - she displays a subtle level of contempt on the right side of her face.

Contempt is a very specific emotion wherein we place another person or group beneath us. You believe them to be inferior to you. It is a very powerful and damaging emotion. Dr. John Gottman has shown that the display of contempt is the number one predictor of relationship failure. It is so powerful an emotion that it inhibits the human immune system - and thus the recipient of contempt will even suffer increased rates of infection and disease.

The Body language of contempt are often confused with subtle or partial (unilateral) smiles - but are more accurately are characterized as a snarl. Nostril dilation often accompanies this along with mid-face tension in the "mustache area" and upper lip. The upper lip is raised and the lower lip may protrude. While the forehead is relaxed, there often is wrinkling (crow's feet) on the same side of the face as the snarl. Chin wrinkling may also be displayed. The nasal-labial furrow on the side of the nose is often pronounced along with wrinkling on the bridge of the nose.

While most everyone can identify dramatic nonverbal of emotion, I'm continually amazed at the percentage of learned, traveled, educated and accomplished people who have significant difficulty recognizing moderate, let alone subtle examples of emotions.