Saturday, June 30, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1918:
Vladimir Putin - Pointing with Pen Surrogates
Sharp vs. Blunt

It's a major body language faux pas to point with one's forefinger (aka index finger). It is universally offensive and destroys rapport. Although there are superior nonverbal methods to "soften" the effect of the conventional index finger point is to point - one way is to point with a pen as a substitute. Vladimir is shown here "pen pointing" on two different occasions. Above he is pointing with the sharp end of the pen and below he's using the blunt end. As subtle as this may seem to some, the sharp-end method "feels" to the person being pointed at almost as if the forefinger is being used - while the blunt-ended variation has a softer emotional feel - it's less offensive and friendlier.

Note too how these respective pointing methods are mirrored in the face. Above, the Russian President is displaying an inward lip roll (indicating anxiety with an attempt to control a negative emotional display) in combination with lip-thinning (a nonverbal sign highly consistent with anger). In the image below, Putin's face is much more pleasant - almost friendly. 

Tension/negative emotions in the face are very often reflected in hand tension - and while the pens are not part of the hands or body - here they act as extensions of it or body language surrogates.


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1919:
The Asymmetrical Smile - we all use this Body Language ....
but Mitt Romney displays it too often

Mitt Romney displays here a classical body language example of the Asymmetrical "Smile". Moreover, not only is his left side not smiling, it is frowning. Neither is the right-side of his mouth for that matter. This is a "Pseudo-Smile". In addition, the Presidential candidate's lips are thinned - indicating a component of anger component. Along with his left-sided frown side - these nonverbals reflect Mitt's true emotional tone

We all make this expression from time to time (and variations of it), and more than we realized. But when you're running for President, you need to extricate this expression from your routine. Mr. Romney uses this facial expression far too much and in the context of verbal disparity. Said another way, his words are positive, but his expressions (this and others) are negative. When the verbal and nonverbal messages are contradictory - it sends feelings of cognitive and emotional dissonance to audiences and the public at large. It also indicates the former Massachusetts Governor is truly feeling such dueling emotions. To the public, this makes him "feel" more like a politician - and less like the guy next door which he should be - in truth and in projection. If Mitt Romney wants to become President, he must solve this problem. The same is true for you - even is your subjects are more mundane and for much smaller audiences.

See also:

Analysis # 1139: How Not to Build Rapport

Analysis # 1003: Obama's Dropped Jaw False Smile

Analysis # 1009: A Sure Sign of a False Smile

Analysis # 1553: Ann & Mitt Romney's Body Language at NRA Meeting

Analysis # 1915: Mitt Romney's Response to Supreme Court's Decision on "Obamacare"

Analysis # 1863: Sharapova's Lips of Anger

Analysis # 531: Sarkozy's Mouth Tells Us What He's Thinking

Analysis # 771: Ann's and Mitt's Affectionate Hug


Friday, June 29, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1910:
Natasha Smith Sexually Assaulted in Tahrir Square -
Post Assault Interview

Natasha Smith is an incredibly brave woman. As a British journalism student who was on assignment in Egypt recently, her work took her to Tahrir Square. Tragically she was savagely attacked and sexually assaulted by many men there - and then rescued by others who put their own lives' in harm's way. 

Here is a portion of her interview within the above video with accompanying nonverbal analysis:

2:19 - 2:28:  In this segment, note Natasha's left eyebrow elevated throughout - a clear body language signal for disbelief/incredulity. She can't believe that she gets special treatment because who she is and others are being ignored in large numbers.

"There's been all this fuss because I'm British, and I'm young and I'm a girl. But this is happening to women elsewhere constantly."

In this next portion (2:29 - 2:42); note Ms. Smith's Central Forehead is Contracted (CFC) throughout - which is a nonverbal signal of pain - either emotional or physical (although this must be accompanied by a mouth expression of pain, fear, or sadness - if there is even a trace amount of a "smile" - it's a false smile - beware - a CFC with a smile is a huge warning sign). This pain may be being experienced actively, being relived in the memory, or felt secondarily via empathy. Along with this CFC, the medial (closer to the center of the face) portion of her eyebrows are elevated, while the lateral portions (closer to her ears) move slightly downward (depress). Here the brave journalist is displaying strong empathy for the acts of violence, emotional trauma and lack of justice she feels towards other victims. 

Also note that for a very brief moment (2:41*), a microexpression of anger is displayed as her eyebrows not only pinched closer together, but also depressed, particularly medially.

"And we don't hear about that - we don't hear stories of Egyptian woman or African women or women across the World who ... who will often ...often suffer these attacks and worse (left eyebrow shoots up again for less than a second in disbelief), worse attacks and they'll be no (*) justice done."

This is a very illustrative interview for the emotions and body language signals of incredulity and  empathy as well as a microexpression of anger. Ms. Smith is a very courageous woman and her professional voice, insight and deep emotional understanding of others will serve her and the public well.


Body Language Analysis No. 1916: Katie Holmes & Tom Cruise are getting a Divorce - What Body Language Metric could have Predicted this - When They Were Dating?

When it comes to dating and romance are you aware that you your significant other's height statistically plays a key roll in whether it will just be a date or two - or if last as a couple
Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise are getting a divorce after a five year marriage.

Boguslaw Pawlowski, Ph.D., a Polish Anthropologist has noticed an interesting body language predictor of relationship longevity (it also predicts male-female & female-male attraction) - height ratio. When the man is 9% taller (1.09 times taller or the woman being 0.917 the height of the man) - Boguslaw found that this is the optimal ratio for longevity of a relationship. He found that the further a couple is from this height-proportion, the shorter the relationship tends to last. Like all statistics, this tendency describes large numbers of people (also disease behavior, sports stats, economics, etc.) and we can place too much emphasis when we look at small numbers or individual cases - but one can't help but wonder if this nonverbal quality had some influence on Katie and Tom - for she is 5'9" and he is 5'7" (a male to female ratio of only 0.97! - or said another way she is 3% taller than he, see below).

By the way - Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward (married for 50 years) ratio was exactly 1.09 and Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick (married 24 years) ratio is very close, 1.085!

See also:

Media Inquiries and Group Appearances 
One-on-One and Online Courses Available 


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1913:
Obama gets Booed by Boston Red Sox Fans
as Kevin Youkilis goes to Chicago White Sox

Kevin Youkilis recently went from Boston Red Sox to Chicago White Sox in a trade. President Obama joked about this Monday during a trip to Boston. He may not have anticipated quite this level of booing from the audience though. In the video above he can be seen shuffling back and forth on his feet several times as if he were an older man trying to dance. This is a straightforward body language signal of anxiety and something for which a President and accomplished speaker should be relatively immune. Notice also the verbal signal of anxiety - where the President mispronounces "say" as "thay" (at 0:02). Very often verbal and nonverbal anxiety will portend/mirror/accompany each other.

See also:

Analysis # 2131: President Obama's Blink Rate .... and his Anxiety


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1915: Mitt Romney's Response to Supreme Court's Decision on "Obamacare"

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision upholding most of "Obamacare", Mitt Romney's words and voice sounded more fluid and sincere during his speech today. His body language could use some improvement though. It's difficult to imagine what speech coach is advising him not to use his hands. He should use them. Known in the nonverbal communication world as "Illustrators" - these gestures, properly used, afford us an opportunity to increase our sincerity quotient (something all politicians sorely need), develop rapport and increase the recall of what we say in our audience's memories. Mitt Romney did not use his hands once as illustrators during this important speech - only to turn some pages on his notes.

Care should be taken not to confuse Illustrators with MAPs (Manipulators, Adaptors, Pacifiers).

Although the facial expressions and the upper body may act as illustrators as well, the hands and arms play a primary roll. These hand/arm gestures act to emphasize, underline and illustrate speech/words/tone/cadence, etc. By not using our hands, we make it more difficult for our speech - not just to sound more fluid and sincere, but to literally be more flowing and truthful. Allowing the hands to work with our speech will physiologically affect the brain in a positive way - and thus the words we speak and how they sound.

Obviously one can over-use hand gestures and care must be taken to avoid this. In general hands should not be lifted above the shoulders or more than three or four inches lateral to the shoulders. Hands should never be placed in the pockets. There should also be a "harmony" with the spoken word. Moving the Hands/arms in a haphazard fashion will destroy rapport and detract from the verbal message. It's useful to think a bit like an orchestra conductor - but less dramatic in speed and movement. 

Another reason to use ones hands (and avoid putting them in our pockets) during a speech or lecture - is because we tend not to trust people when we cannot see their hands. From the view on this video, it's not clear if Romney had his hands in his pockets - but he tends to do so. At the very best it sends signals of emotional dissonance - as if to say, "... I kind of want to be here, but part of me doesn't ...."
For this same reason, many politicians have begun to use lecterns made of Plexiglas or ones which have a thin central support beam. These give greater "transparency" of the speaker both literally and metaphorically. Indeed if a person suddenly stops using illustrators, and then begins using them - this sends up a red flag as to the truthfulness of their statements/answers they made/gave during the gesture hiatus.
With regards to his paralanguage, Mr. Romney should avoid the lip smacking that he has of late made a habit. It can be heard throughout this speech.

The former Massachusetts Governor should also make an effort to relax his forehead during his speeches and even during dialog. Overuse (contraction) of the central forehead is extremely common among politicians and many in the public eye. While casual observers may believe it looks as if they're always concerned - overusing the central forehead contraction, especially in conjunction with a smile (even a slight smile) - transmits insincerity (or worse) and should be strongly avoided.


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

There are many fantastic facial expressions in this crowd of fans who are watching Spain defeat Portugal in the Euro 2012. The woman front and center exemplifies the rarely captured emotion of sincere surprise. Because true surprise is so evanescent (lasting only a second or two) it is difficult to photograph. Her widely opened eyes ("white and wide") are highly consistent with the emotion of surprise - as is her vertically oval and wide opened mouth. If her hand were not covering most of it, we could see the entire width of her forehead is contracted - and with it her elevated eyebrows.

Spain will face Italy in the final on Sunday.


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1912:
Ann Curry's Tearful Goodbye
Matt Lauer's Insincerity

Note: This video is a very similar but slightly different version than was first posted. An addendum updated post will soon describe another key nonverbal tell by Matt Lauer.

In this last morning with Ann Curry on Today, there are many body language signals. Here are a few highlights:

Matt Lauer is chronically insincere - which is a final common personality pathway for many (but not all) who report the news - they have to daily act sincere when these feelings do not exist. A narcissistic signal is displayed by Lauer when at the 0:14 second mark he puts his arm up on the coach in back of Curry and leaves it there through most of the remainder of this segment. In this context this nonverbal is highly consistent of narcissism - as if to say here, "... I know this is your moment Ann, but really it's always about me ... " Narcissists tend to chronically and at inappropriate moments adopt body postures which take up more space.

Freeze frame at 1:23 - 1:24 and you will see a unilateral "pseudo-smile" on Lauer's face. This is also a classic body language tell of insincerity. It is an unconscious act. The shoulder touch to Ann Curry at 2:08 is consciously controlled however, and in this nonverbal context, it is feigned - and not a signal of true affection.

Analysis # 424: Beware the Mona Lisa Smile

Though a very secure and accomplished woman, Curry displays a double-arm grip during 2:24 - 2:52, displaying temporary signals of self-hugging and self-comforting.

Ann has a bitterness-regret pseudo-smile at the 2:27 mark as she reacts to Lauer's statement. Ann also looks at Roker and Morales when they reminisce about past stories - but she doesn't make eye contact with Lauer.

 Analysis # 335: What does "Eye Contact" really mean in a Body Language context

Ms. Curry again displays bitterness in her pseudo-smile at 4:19 when Lauer kisses her temple. Notice also how there's no reciprocal kiss or affection signals. Yet there is much affection displayed for Al Roker.

Note also the narcissistic word choice by Lauer, " .... We're going to continue to put you on planes ...", when Curry's future assignments certainly won't come from him. 

Another very strong body language signal of insincerity on Lauer's part - is that he is the only one with his back touching the back of the couch. He's aloof. He's distancing himself emotionally and physically from the conversation and his colleague's emotions. Curry, Roker and Morales are all leaning forward in their seats - backs not touching the couch. They are engaged in the emotional context of the moment.

Analysis # 39: Affectionate vs. Non-affectionate Hugs

Analysis # 399: Sincerity in the U.S. Congress

Analysis # 1600: Senator Marco Rubio -Sincerity, Self-directed Incredulity & Humor, Blocking and Appeals for the Vice Presidency


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1902:
The Queen Shakes Ex-IRA Leader, Martin McGuinness's hand

Queen Elizabeth shook Martin McGuinness's hand today. The Deputy Chief of Minister of Northern Ireland, the Sinn Féin was also an ex-IRA leader and this act (although choreographed) was of course, highly symbolic and very meaningful. But how could it have been even more meaningful?

It's difficult to find a copy of the English Royal's Etiquette Manual, and it may very well include leaving your gloves on during a handshake. However unless you're of royal blood, both men and women should ALWAYS remove their gloves during a handshake. To do otherwise is a body language signal of psychological distancing. Done correctly, pressing palm to palm (or even in the more traditional feminine finger grip as Elizabeth used) is such a strong nonverbal beacon of sincerity - that anyone advising the Queen, should have recommended that she break protocol and remove her glove as well. Touching another human being is a relatively rare moment, and the opportunity to build stronger rapport and demonstrate deep sincerity should not be squandered. 


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1907:
Governor Rick Scott tells a Lie

In the third segment of this video montage (0:53 - 1:09), Florida Governor Rick Scott tells a lie. Note during the 1:03 - 1:04 clip, he rubs his right eye with his right hand/forefinger (aka index finger). In the context of answering a question or, as is shown here, when making a point-in-fact statement, rubbing one eye is a body language signal highly consistent with anxiety and particularly deception (a bilateral eye rub indicates something completely different). He also very noticeably stutters. Obviously, as Governor Scott was joking about comparisons between Florida and Texas, the result of such a lie are insignificant - except that they will act as "norming" signs (individual baseline behavior) for those who study your nonverbals/ do business with/married to, etc

The ease at which one can pull off a "relatively convincing" lie is proportional to the risks of getting caught (Ekman). If it is difficult for a person to deceive others with a falsehood of such minor ramifications, then it is also accurate to conclude he/she is a "bad liar" and lies with greater consequences would be easier to detect.


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1905:
Ann Curry's Smile and Sincerity Quotient

Ann Curry sports five primary body language components of a fully sincere smile: only the upper teeth should be visible, vertically lifted-bunched cheeks, concave up furrows in the lower eyelids, eyelids partially closed, and a relaxed forehead.

Curry's sincerity quotient is significantly higher than her soon-to-be previous Today co-host, Matt Lauer's.

What's your sincerity quotient?


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1911:
Preening as a Signal of Affection-Attraction

In this image Dina (Ruiz) Eastwood, preens her actor/director/producer husband - Clint Eastwood's face. Preening another person is a strong body language signal for affection-attraction. It also a nonverbal practice which comforts and engenders bonding.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1901:
Maria Sharapova's Anxiety

With her victory at Roland Garros, Maria Sharapova has regained the number one World tennis ranking (a position she has held four times before). She is as beautiful as any model, the highest paid female athlete on the planet, a savvy business woman and has now has the elusive career grand slam (only accomplished by five other women in the open era). Yet, like many people who have no apparent reason to be, she displays significant anxiety on camera.

Early in the video (0:09 - 0:11) when Mark Phillips asks, "Do you feel that you're hungry to achieve it still?" Sharapova reaches up with her left hand/arm to rub the opposite side of her neck (Then a few seconds later she persists with a similar gesture just below her right shoulder). This across-the-front blocking coupled with the MAP (manipulator, adaptor, pacifier) signals to us that the nature of this question has significant anxiety for Maria.

At 0:36 Sharapova suddenly displays another MAP - which is a beacon of verbal course correction - as she adjusts her hair/rubs behind her left ear with her left hand: "...So I think,....[here she changes her mind on what to say]....yeah,'s just one of those things where you try and believe in what you have - and hope that what you have is good enough to win"

The tennis star also can be seen in a similar configuration with her right hand to her right temporal-parietal region at 0:57 at the beginning of a question regarding comparisons to Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Steffi Graf - with respect to consistency in grand slam wins. Again, anxiety.

[Very demonstratively, during the 1:51 - 1:55 when Maria looks up to her right - visually constructing her future from the point-of-view of herself at seventeen (which is now her present and past). This body language (for the vast majority of right-handers) is highly consistent with sincerity and truth. Her words are highly congruent with her nonverbal displays. If you were picking a jury, you'd want a girl like Maria - at least based on this portion of the interview.]

All of the above referenced MAPs signal anxiety in Maria Sharapova. Again, she is extremely accomplished and has few obvious reasons for anxiety. As it often is the case, when a person is out of their element or for reasons which aren't visible to most - and many would doubt even exist - people at the top/in positions of power/alpha personalities have anxiety too. Being able to spot these moments allows us to know their Achilles heel and exploit it - or come to her aide - or perhaps back off - whatever and whenever we so choose in a highly nuanced fashion.

P.S. - Today during the first round of Wimbledon: Maria Sharapova def. Anastasia Rodionova of Australia 6-2, 6-3

See also:

Analysis # 1863: Sharapova's Lips of Anger

Analysis # 51: Dominance Display in a Couple - Sasha & Maria


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1900:
Palmar Touch of another Person, an Animal or Object

Touching another person, an animal or object with the palm of the hand (palmar touch) is a strong body language signal showing affection, empathy, sincerity and/or ownership. In this particular image, an Indian boy's nonverbal example may very well be demonstrative of all three.

See also:

Analysis # 1866: Miley Cyrus & Liam Hemsworth are Engaged - an Affection-Love Sincerity Signal

Analysis # 1829: Dara Torres Interview with Piers Morgan - Embarrassment, Visual Recall, Sexual Anticipation Lip Biting & Sincerity Quotients

Analysis # 1531: Hillary Clinton Describing the Osama Bin Laden Navy SEAL Raid at the U.S. Naval Academy, 10 April 2012

Analysis # 391: Hillary Clinton and Aung San Suu Kyi 

Analysis # 1455: Ann Romney, The Illinois Primary & Sincerity


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1899:
Bill Cassidy and "Obama-care" -
Letting your Body Language Detract from your Message

You may or may not agree with the Affordable Health Care for America Act - aka "Obama-care" - and polling shows that more than half of Americans disagree with it in part or whole - however Representative Bill Cassidy's (R-LA) open statement regarding his (and the Republican Party's) view that the Supreme Court (and Congress) must repeal it - reveal some major mistakes from a body language standpoint. If you truly desire to communicate, you should seek to do so on all levels - including language, paralanguage (tone, cadence, rhythm, volume, etc.) and nonverbally.

Representative Cassidy used the very common "political point" much too often in this video announcement. While it is a good gesture to use relatively sparingly - especially in lieu of the traditional index finger (forefinger) point, Dr. Cassidy overused it to extreme. No one (except for ill-advised politicians) uses the political point this excessively. Overuse of any particular nonverbal - at the very best transmits "I'm a rookie" and most of the time creates an air of insincerity and distrust. It destroys rapport rather than building it.

While several times he uses a palm-down gesture, at no time in this speech does Representative Cassidy use a palms-up illustrator.  Palms-down hand usage should be used minimally if at all and at very specific times of short duration. The same is true of the pseudo-prayer hand chop as well as (briefly) its close cousin the conventional steeple. All of these nonverbals (except palms up) are authoritarian and are overused by politicians and most other alpha personalities. They send signals of arrogance and condescension. Palms-up gestures (which also can be over-used) create feelings of openness and authority without being "over-alpha" (Pease).

The fact that Cassidy had no lectern or desk in front of him was a smart move. The more we can see of a person, the more we trust him/her. The high-stool seating used by many in the political setting (debates, interviews, etc.) is also over used though and looks unnatural. Men end up sitting with their legs wider splayed than they otherwise would - and thus end up folding their hands in front of their crotch (which is what Cassidy repeatedly does and in this setting it adds to a patronizing feeling). This scenario is repeated and much worse for women - particularly if wearing a skirt or dress. This awkwardness and uncomfortable seating translates to significantly less fluid speaking. High stool seating is unnatural and should be avoided. 

Another nonverbal which detracts from Representative Cassidy's rapport is his elevated right eyebrow and contracted right forehead. This was done extensively throughout the video - even when he was speaking about what he believes to be a proper course of action. This forehead/eyebrow body language adds doubt and incredulity to his message. It is possible that this is secondary to a peripheral facial nerve palsy (such as Bell's Palsy or injury) on his left, but it is doubtful since there are no other signs of this.

No doubt Rep. Cassidy believes what he is saying, but his nonverbal displays are not building rapport - they are destroying it. Got rapport?


Friday, June 22, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1898:
Heat, Hugs & Head Surrogates

When there is true love and sincere affection present during a hug, one head will touch the head of the other. This is even true across species. When the love-affection being expressed is towards a non-living thing - such as a trophy, there is often an emotional nonverbal display with a "head-surrogate". LeBron James (above), Chis Bosh and Dwayne Wade (both below) are exemplifying this body language behavior with the NBA's "Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy". It's as if they are hugging their wives/girlfriends.

In addition, note that the first two images were snapped with James' and Bosh's eyelids being closed. Ninety percent of our sensory input is visual. Forty-percent of the mass of the human brain is dedicated to the vision. Thus when we close our eyes, a bit more blood supply and oxygen get directed to the other four (non-visual) senses as well as the cognitive and emotional centers of our brains. During a sincere hug, we want to drink in the full emotion of the moment - to feel it at its maximum, so we close our eyes. If eyelid closure during hugs begins to wane or is lacking - it is a strongly negative signal of impending relationship failure.

See also:

Analysis # 1423: Head First Affection & Head Surrogate Hugs

Analysis # 992: Gabriell Giffords' and Barack Obama's Hug

Analysis # 771: Ann's & Mitt's Affectionate Hug

Analysis # 2: Body Language of Blake Lively & Penn Badgley Strongly Suggests an Impending Break-up in Near Future


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1897:
George Zimmerman's Reenactment of
Trayvon Martin Shooting

Yesterday, a video of George Zimmerman's description (to police) of the Trayvon Martin shooting was released. The above is a portion of that video via CNN.

Although throughout much of the first portion of this video we can see little or none of George Zimmerman's face, many body language cues can be ascertained through watching his hands. Zimmerman's hands are in moving in conjunction with his story/version of the facts. Note that at several times he often used the universal nonverbal signal of an extended thumb and pinky (fifth digit) with flexed/contracted second, third and fourth digits to signal a phone call/his conversation with the police non-emergency dispatcher. Zimmerman's hands also move very congruently with his description of Trayvon Martin's movement. 

At no time during this video does he touch his face. Self-touching (Manipulators, Adaptors or Pacifiers aka MAPs) - particularly facial touching would be expected throughout this video if Zimmerman were lying or had a significantly increased level of anxiety. The fact that there are no visible MAPs strongly suggests Zimmerman's relative (but not complete, see below) lack of anxiety and high level of confidence and comfort. People who are telling the truth naturally have confidence.

Zimmerman's rate of blinking is relatively high in this video - which is consistent with some increased anxiety. Famously many U.S. Presidential candidates, who are telling the truth during debates have increased blink rates. Because blinking varies from person to person a fair amount, it is important to compare moments before and after the time being questioned (and during non-stressful periods) to determine if there is a true increase. 

From a nonverbal communication standpoint this Video demonstrates a very high degree of sincerity (sincerity quotient) and truthfulness from George Zimmerman.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1896:
IMF Managing Director - Christine Lagarde
Pseudo-Prayer & Pursed Lips

Pictured here is Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She replaced Dominique Strauss-Khan after his abrupt fall from grace and is ranked by Forbes as the ninth most powerful woman in the World. But she has a poor poker face.

The "Pseudo-prayer" can signal several meanings. Like all nonverbal communication - it is crucial to decode other co-existing body language with which it is clustered.

When you see a pseudo-prayer gesture, it's a good idea to look at the eyes and mouth for clues. Although from this angle it is a bit difficult to tell, Ms. Lagarde's eyelids are slightly closed - in this context (see below) this partial closure is significant of contempt-arrogance-distancing.

The IMF MD's mouth demonstrates a moderate amount of lip-pursing. A lip purse is an extremely valuable nonverbal tell. It's a highly reliable beacon that the person has considerable disagreement with what she/he is hearing, has an alternative plan/idea - and is (usually) keeping their opinion to themselves (at least for the time-being). There is a high likelihood that the lip-purser will institute their plan in a clandestine manner - or at least arrange the "game pieces" ahead of time - such that their actions will have increased probability of success. Only a "relative alpha" makes a lip-purse - they are a perceived (perhaps only self-perceived) superior within the group/context. In short, the lip purse is a body language signal of clandestine disagreement with an action plan. Watch out.

Thus Ms. Lagarde's pseudo-prayer is a variation that many of those in power and/or in leadership positions misuse. It's a cousin of the "conventional high steeple" and it's patronizing and condescending - particularly when there is an up-and-down chopping motion of the hand & forearms. It's a potent rapport destroyer.

See also:
Analysis # 1083: Brewer's MAPs Flag Foreboding

Analysis # 119: Pseudo Prayer in Thailand' Prime Minister

Analysis # 1138: Jennifer Hudson's Whitney Houston Tribute

Analysis # 1181: Helle Thorning-Schmidt & her False Praying Gesture

Analysis # 1698: Susan Rice, Bashar Ja'afari & Kofi Annan's Six Point Peace Plan for Syria

Analysis # 1055: The Subtle Lip Purse - Tom Brady

Analysis # 1715: Jay Carney's Lip Purse - Bin Laden is Dead and General Motors is Alive

Analysis # 9: Nancy Pelosi's Lip Purse

Analysis # 9 - Redux: Condoleezza Rice's Lip Purse


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Romance, Flirting & Dating Body Language Secret # 1893:
Nonverbal Communication of the Facial Platter

In this obviously posed image, the amazingly gifted, creative and beautiful Norah Jones exhibits the "Facial Platter" (Pease). It is a common body language (subconsciously) used by women and gay men (rarely seen with straight men) signaling sexual attraction to a lover/potential lover. Here Jones is using the two-handed facial platter, although a one-handed variation (less common) may also be seen.


Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1892:
Harry Reid, "That's a Clown Question Bro!" -
Tongue in Cheek

In this video of Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) responding to a reporter's question regarding Mitch McConnell (R-KY, Senate Minority Leader) wanting to wait in order to hear Mitt Romney's opinion on "The Dream Act" before McConnell answers - Reid memes Washington National's rookie sensation, Bryce Harper.

Last week, Harper responded identically (in words, tone and emotional context) when asked about consuming a beer in Toronto - where being 19 he's legal, but not so in many places in the States (see video below) Harper is also Mormon - which prohibits consumption of alcohol. In the political world as well as in professional sports, while candidates, office holders and athletes certainly have to watch what they say - with the cameras rolling and many more watching - grandstanding, posturing and body language is more tempting, more common, more dramatic and thus easier to spot. In most professional scenarios (even in politics and professional sports) when there is no video and no press - the body language is a just as prevalent, but more difficult to spot.

Both Senator Reid and Harper displayed contempt when they heard their respective questions. Harry Reid displays his contempt with a unilateral, snarl-pseudo-half-smile with the right side of his face/mouth and tightening of his mid-face (seen at 0:13) while Bryce Harper signals this same emotion with an extended eyelid closure. Reid is of course older and much more experienced - and his contempt display is fully unconscious. Harper shows us an extended (and complete) eyelid closure - which is partially consciously (edge of consciousness) controlled, but Harper being 19 is less experienced in the interview process - and probably cares less about this particular issue. A much more common cousin of the extended eyelid closure (aka extended blink) is the partial, passive eyelid closure - often seen with some subtle nostril flaring and mid-face tightening - but is subconsciously controlled. There is often a simultaneous but anger component with this partial eyelid closure - manifested by a dynamic thinning of the lips.

Harry Reid also shows us a fantastic "Tongue-in-Cheek" nonverbal during the 0:19 - 0:20 clip. The tongue in cheek can have different meanings depending on the other body language with which it is clustered, but here it's message is clear - "I gotcha". It has a strong component of self-righteousness and smug, "I've just won" emotional tones. Senator Reid was waiting to use Harper's line and in his mind, this was the perfect time. Very often though the verbal message will be very friendly and agreeable (Harry is being deliberately blunt of course - not caring to hide his opinion) - and although, depending on other coexisting body language signs with which it is clustered the tongue-in-Cheek can indicate other meanings/emotions - most of the time, if you see the tongue in cheek - a red flag should go up. Proceed cautiously.