Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2120:
Barack Obama on David Letterman's Show
Response to Mitt Romney's 47% Remark

This video segment of President Obama on the David Letterman Show is just 1:20 in duration - however there are several interesting body language tells. Here are two of them:

When David Letterman asks the President about his interpretation of Mitt Romney's now infamous "47% remark" - note how Obama remains leaning back in his chair with his legs crossed (doing his best Matt Lauer). While the President certainly wants to relax - he should take care NOT to come off disengaged. He would have been well-advised to plant both feet on the floor, a bit wider apart than his shoulders - and leaned forward as he answered David's question. His backward-leaning, legs-crossed configuration gives the impression of aloofness and does not build rapport or engage the electorate.

At the 1:05 mark - just a fraction of a second after he says, "hard working" and just before he says "family" - the President displays a classic microexpression of contempt (play these few seconds several times, it may be difficult to see initially). This lasted less than 0.1 second, yet it is a highly reliable nonverbal signal of Barack Obama's emotional tone - at that moment.

See also:

Analysis # 2093: Ann Curry's Tearful Goodbye - Matt Lauer's Classic "Tongue-in-Cheek" and Duplicitous Smile (part II)

Analysis # 1912: Ann Curry's Tearful Goodbye - Matt Lauer's Insincerity (part I)

Analysis # 2059: Musharraf has Contempt towards Pakistan's Intelligence Agency

Analysis # 1407: Auboni Champion-Morin Reunited with Kidnapped Son After 8 Years - Microexpression of Contempt

Analysis # 2050: George Zimmerman's Interview on Fox - Microexpression of Contempt and Duping Delight

Analysis # 1515: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's Numerous Microexpresions and Subtle Displays of Contempt