Friday, August 24, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2096:
Canadian Tenors, Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) and Celine Dion

There are some great body language signals in this Canadian Tenors performance video. The group had never met Celine Dion - and Oprah Winfrey had arranged for a surprise visit in the midst of their performance of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".

At the 3:11 mark the back of the stage opens and Celine steps forward. The first to see her is Clifton Murray (3:22) who doesn't look very surprised and implies that perhaps he had some foreknowledge of  her visit or suspected Oprah had something up her sleeve. Victor Micallef spots her next (3:23) and her appearance brings a sincere smile to his face. When Fraser Walters spots the megastar he mouths, "Oh my God" (3:27), immediately looks away, closes his eyes and covers his mouth - all strong nonverbal signals of emotionally processing a new and dramatic event. Often such scenarios are negative, and fortunately this one isn't. Walters' sensory-intellectual brain just told him he's singing along with Celine - but his emotional brain hasn't caught up with reality yet. Celine closely (but not exactly) mirrors his body language by covering her mouth along with a slight nose rub (an anxiety component as well) (3:29).

Remigio Pereira nonverbal response is fantastic. Both his eyes open "White and Wide" for about a second at 3:39. Surprise is the shortest lasting of all the emotions. If it lasts longer than two seconds there is usually a component of insincerity (An exception being psychological shock upon witnessing or hearing about a very dramatic event. Such faces were commonly seen in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001).

At the 3:37 mark Clifton Murray exhibits a palmar touch to his lower sternum - demonstrating sincerity and a strong "heart-felt" emotional tone.

Even though Ms. Dion is an alpha female, a very successful and accomplished person, at the 3:41 - 3:42 mark she performs a behind-the-ear hair adjustment - which indicates the need to "dial-up her alpha". Her psyche is essentially saying - "right now I need to be a bit more alpha and/or a little less beta". This body language is much more common in women, although men have several analogs to this very telling nonverbal (which are particularly useful in negotiations, the court room and sales-type scenarios). Celine also blushes here - which is of course a strong biological display consistent with sincerity - for a blush cannot be feigned (3:42).

See also:

Analysis # 831: Santorum's Hands and the Alpha-Beta Hybrid 

Analysis # 1914: Sincere Surprise - Often Faked & Difficult to Capture - Spain Beats Portugal in Euro 2012

Analysis # 334: Fear and Surprise - as Bulls Beat Lakers

Analysis # 1212: Sudden Mouth Covering

Analysis # 2055: Three Wise Monkeys - Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil - Body Language Interpretation vs. Traditional Symbolism