Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2239:
John Boehner's Body Language-Facial Tic of Anxiety vs.
Another Facial Expression of Contempt

Many people have inquired about John Boehner's very rapid "smile-like" expressions recently. In the context of negotiations with President Obama regarding the "Fiscal Cliff", he has received more press than usual of late. One of these very evanescent facial expressions appears in the above video at the 0:06 mark. Note its symmetry - with equal elevation on both corners of the mouth. If one were inexperienced at reading nonverbals - or had not watched the U.S. Speaker of the House very much, they may mistake this rapid expression for what is known as a "duping delight". While we all display the duping delight expression occasionally - and Mr. Boehner is no exception (see also: Nonverbal Communication Analysis #2236: John Boehner & the Fiscal Cliff Plan B Failure - Body Language of Duping Delight), this particular expression is something different - a form of a facial tic. John Boehner displays this body language-facial expression very often (and is seen many times in the above segment). It tends to increase with Mr. Boehner's anxiety.

Note another very rapid, but asymmetrical pseudo-smile the congressman makes at the 0:07 mark. The quick "smile-like" elevation occurs much more predominantly on the left side of his mouth. While this asymmetry/mild difference may seem insignificant, this second particular expression conveys a very different emotion - one of contempt. This extremely rapid contempt display is one of many examples of emotions conveyed via microexpressions. Most of the Ohio republican's mouth movements (other than speech) in this segment are consistent with his anxiety-related idiosyncratic facial tic and not contempt related. However this body language is one exception.

See also:

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 457: Salman Rusdie and a Contempt Amplifier

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1890: Eric Holder has (Emotional) Contempt toward Darrell Issa - while Rep. Issa is Very Excited to be Seeking  "Contempt of Congress" against Holder

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2172: Governor Chris Christie's Body Language of Contempt -  Microexpressions and Subtle Displays 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2228: Jay Carney's Body Language - Contempt disguised as a Sniff .... for Republicans' Solutions to the Fiscal Cliff 

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 931: Harbaugh's Fear and Anxiety 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1901: Maria Sharapova's Anxiety

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1876: Noomi Rapace Body Language - Anxiety & False Mastication