Sunday, October 7, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2139:
Drew Brees, Johnny Unitas, 48 Straight and Sincere Smiles

On Sunday 7 October 2012, in a comeback victory against the San Diego Chargers, Drew Brees led his New Orleans Saints and broke Johnny Unitas's 52 year-old NFL record - by completing at least one touchdown in 48 consecutive games. Here Brees is show speaking with the former Baltimore Colts quarterback's son, Joe Unitas prior just to the game.

Take note of Brees' smile. It is a sincere smile, aka a Duchenne Smile (Ekman). There are three primary nonverbal components of a sincere, smile of true joy. First, always look at the eyes. The eyelids should always be partially and often even mostly closed - as Drew's body language demonstrates. Moreover, there should be a concave-up furrow in each lower lid - for it is certainly common to close the lids in the expression of mild to moderate anger - a' la Clint Eastwood.

See also: Nonverbal Analysis # 1858: What the Eyes Do - Mild vs. Severe Anger

Next, look at the forehead. While past a certain age, the forehead does have passive wrinkles - there should be no active muscular contraction - and thus no dynamic ridges or furrows on the forehead. For a smile to be sincere, a nonverbal requirement is the forehead MUST be relaxed. 

During a sincere smile, the upper teeth should be the only ones displayed. While the lower teeth will be displayed during sincere laughter, they are not visible during a true smile. It is also possible that the smile is being held for too long (e.g. in a posed photo), and thus the joy-emotion behind an initial smile will begin to wane - then the smile fades. In addition it's important to consider the possibility that the mouth component of a sincere smile is suppressed - so that none or very little of any teeth (upper or lower) are exposed. If such mouth-suppression is displayed - it is possible for the smile to be sincere - however the forehead and the eye findings described above must always be present.

See also:

Nonverbal Analysis # 42: Brees' Bitter Smile After Disappointment 

Nonverbal Analysis # 1236: Unsaintly Emotions .... Unsaintly Behavior .... Body Language Warning Signals

Nonverbal Analysis # 2091: Sincere Smiling and Laughing Reduces Anxiety and Heart Rate, Boosts Immune System and Relieves Pain

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

Nonverbal Analysis # 353: Brad Pitt's Smiling Eyes - Sincere and Insincere Smiles

Nonverbal Analysis # 1010: What Makes the Twinkle in Her Eye?