Friday, February 15, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2304:
It Came from Outer Space -
Russian Meteor Event over Chelyabinsk
Don't Confuse this Reflex with Body Language

Today a meteor about 15 meters (56 feet) in diameter entered the Earth's atmosphere at least 15 - 18 km/sec (34,000 - 40,000 miles/hour) over the southern Ural Mountains and exploded upon entry between 30 and 50 km above the ground with an explosive power release equivalent to over 30 times the WWII Hiroshima atomic bomb blast. About 1200 people were injured - two seriously. This was the largest recorded Earth-meteor encounter since the Tunguska Event on 30 June 1908 which flattened about 2150 square km (830 sq. mi) of forest in the remote region of Siberia. 

In the video above two people can be seen displaying what is known as a "Startle Reflex". This is not body language, but it is often confused with it - as well as that of surprise. Surprise is a true nonverbal however. 

Human beings are born with only two fears - those of falling and loud noises. We have inborn reflexes to protect us in these scenarios and the danger associated with them. In the video above we can see the woman (0:47 - 0:49) in particular on the left side of video rapidly covering her head with her arms and hands as she grabs the side and back of her head. A rapid bending of her neck protects her trachea and face. Simultaneously her arms pull in, closer to her body's center and her back, hips, knees and ankles flex as she goes into the fetal position which serves to further protect her. Her shoulders pull inwards as well and if we could see her eyes, we would note a rapid and extremely tight closure of her eyelids. 

Very intriguingly, immediately after a loud noise dissipates - there is also a reflex to look towards the noise in an effort to assess the situation. This can be seen readily at 0:49 in the man at the bottom right corner of the video.  

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2170:  The San Francisco Giants, Surprise,  Bird Poop and Body Language

Negotiation Secret # 56:  Surprise with a Touch of Fear

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1171:  Not So Fast Swift ....  Taylor's False Surprise