Monday, March 18, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2338:
Why Does Keit Pentus-Rosimannus feel Fear?
Body Language of Estonia's Minister of Environment

From a nonverbal communication perspective, this interview from 25 November 2012 of Keit Pentus-Rosimannus displays several very significant tells. One body language sign in particular is highlighted here.

After being asked by Ms. Kadri Jakobson if she was aware of a lawsuit being filled against her and others for 500 000€, she replies, "This is the first time that I hear of this. I have no relations with this company."

Then the Estonian Minister of Environment was asked, "Have you been dealing with this company during 2010-2011?"

Vice-Chairwoman of Estonia's Reform Party then said, "No I have not. The company used to belong to my father which in 2010 as you say was sold."

At the juncture of 0:50 - 0:51 mark, just after this last sentence, Ms. Pentus-Rosimannus makes a highly characteristic nonverbal display in the form of a microexpression of fear. The corner of her mouth pulls back and slightly down (the mouth of fear) while her neck also tightens in an unmistakable fashion (neck of fear). Both of these nonverbals are extremely evanescent. This is an extremely good example of a subtle, yet definitive microexpression of fear - one of the best you'll ever see.

A microexpression is an extremely brief, but very reliable emotional display which is initiated by the subconscious. Fear is but one of several emotions which can be manifested in this way. While we cannot say precisely why she feels this primal emotion, it is absolutely present. 

If you were in Keit Pentus-Rosimannus's shoes and you were telling the truth, it is always possible that you would feel the fear which may accompany a false accusation. So we must be careful not to always and automatically ascribe guilt to all fear displays - lest we commit the "Othello Error" (Ekman). 

However, although she is being question, she is not really being accused by Ms. Jakobson. If the Minister was hearing for the first time about such a lawsuit (and it were unfounded), her primary emotion should be that of anger (which is also very common when politicians are questioned by members of the press - and which she does indeed display and to a fair degree suppresses at other times during the video). But in such a scenario, a fear display would be unusual.  And yet we see it here.

It may be fear of false accusation. It may be fear for another (empathy-based). It may be fear based on guilt. But make no mistake - Ms. Keit Pentus-Rosimannus absolutely feels fear. 

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2274: The Eyes & Mouth of Fear -  Body Language of Ahmed Dogan during  Attempted Assassination

Body Language Secret # 702: Blake Lively's Mouth of Fear,  trying to Smile and  Forehead of Pain

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2019:  Sarah Palin's "Co-Hosting" on The Today Show -  She Fears Romney's Candidacy

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2313: Elisa Lam Video in Elevator at Cecil Hotel -  What Her Body Language Tells Us ....

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2297:  Rooney Mara on Conan O'Brien  Common Body Language Tell  Fear Apology Query Expression-Cluster

Negotiation Secret # 329: Angela Merkel's Neck of Fear

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2306: George W. Bush trapped in Room - Body Language's Microexpression of Fear