Saturday, March 2, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2320:
Estonian Skier Andrus Veerpalu
Denies Performance Enhancing Drugs -
What his Body Language Tells Us


Estonian Cross Country Skier and three time Olympic Medalist (two golds and one silver) Andrus Veerpalu was accused of using performance enhancing drugs in April of 2011. At that time two tests were positive for HGH (Human Growth Hormone). The International Ski Federation (FIS), found the Estonian hero guilty of using this performance enhancing substance. Mr. Veerpalu appealed to the International Court of Justice for Sport (CAS). On 28 February 2013 the CAS deferred their decision until 25 March. This was the fourth time they postponed and no reason was given for the delay.

From a body language perspective, during the above video press conference/interviews (recorded at the beginning of this controversy in 2011), Andrus Veerpalu showed multiple signals of anxiety, shame, self-contempt, bitterness-regret and emotional pain. 

From the very beginning of this video, Andrus Veerpalu's body posture is consistent with very low confidence. If you were an actor trying to play the part of a demure, defeated, beta, low confidence and shameful character, you would want to emulated what he displayed throughout this video. His shoulders are hunched forward - slumped together and pulled inwards - not the posture of a world-class athlete or even that of a moderately confident person. Multiple times he shifts in his chair - indicative of significant anxiety. His head is flexed forward and his neck is foreshortened - resembling a turtle with its head partially retracted. He looks down with his eyes much of the time and when he does look up - he does so just with his eyes and his head still remains down. At multiple times he takes deep breaths and exhales. All these are strong nonverbal signs of low confidence/low emotional comfort - and in this context - when defending oneself from accusations - these body language signals are also consistent with shame

This image is taken at 1:22 in the video and this expression is best viewed in the dynamic nature of video. Here Veerpalu displays with his left mouth a very quick microexpression of self-contempt -bitterness - regret. Pure contempt (when directed at others) looks different - in that the upward component of the corner of the mouth occurs secondarily - with the primary upward vector occurring between the corner and the cupid's bow. Contempt has more of an upward vector than what is seen here (primarily laterally). Self-contempt/regret also has less nostril dilation accompanying this evanescent nonverbal display. Mr. Veerpalu made this expression at multiple times throughout this video signifying in this context a very strong signal of self-incrimination and regret. It is very atypical to see this expression so many times in the context of innocence. (See below)

At 1:42, when the reporter asks what he felt when he first heard that his blood test were positive for doping, Andrus Veerpalu contracts his central forehead and simultaneously displays a frown. This nonverbal (in isolation) is strongly consistent with significant emotional or physical pain - felt either for oneself or for another person, group or animal(s) via empathy. Thus, in this particular context, this facial configuration is strong emotional pain - certainly what we would expect in this scenario.

This image is taken at 2:09 just after Andrus denies performance enhancing substances. Again, he displays the self-contempt bitterness-regret microexpression simultaneous with a central forehead contraction of emotional pain. Again this is best viewed in the video as the subtle and rapid nature is best appreciated appreciated in motion. In the context of accusation this mouth microexpression is not consistent with innocence.

At the end of the video, Mr. Veerpalu appears to be in tears - a nonverbal display which is not congruent with innocence.

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 # 2272:  Lance Armstrong's Mia Culpa with Oprah Winfrey  Body Language Part I

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2273: Lance Armstrong & Oprah Winfrey, Part II  Lance Gives Away More with His Body Language -  He told more Lies

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2275:  Lance Armstrong's Insincerity -  Body Language revealed in Oprah Winfrey Interview  Part III

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2310:  Oscar Pistorius' Body Language in Court - Part II  Central Forehead Contraction, Frown & Pupil Dilation ....

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2307:  Oscar Pistorius in Court, Body Language and the  Bilateral Eye Cover