Monday, July 30, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2070:
Missy Franklin's Reaction after
100 Backstroke Victory in London

This image of Missy Franklin was taken immediately after her victory in the 100 Meter Backstroke. The sudden touching of her forehead indicates disbelief. Her intellect believes she just won an Olympic Gold Medal, however Missy's emotional brain hasn't fully processed the event yet. This lag-effect, where additional processing time is required to fully comprehend what has transpired, is a very common phenomenon. It's an emotion which shares significant similarities with surprise (note her mouth configuration is agape, not quite as widely, but close to that of surprise). If we could see her eyelids, they too would be opened widely - again, almost identical to surprise. This emotional-processing (here it's obviously a good event, however it can be a bad one) if extreme enough, transitions into an emotional shock.

A similar (and more common) body language signal occurs with sudden mouth covering or the sides of the face/cheeks/temple region.

See also:

Analysis  # 221: Spontaneous Mouth Covering & Empathy

Analysis # 1212: Sudden Mouth Covering

Analysis # 871: Mouth Covering Candidate

Additionally, when the palm of the hand makes full contact - it is a very reliable nonverbal signal of sincerity. In the context of becoming an Olympic Champion, this is no wonder. In lesser situations however, surprise, emotional processing and emotional shock can be feigned and the palmar touch is a very good body language sign to watch for when detecting sincerity in such scenarios.