Sunday, March 24, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2344:
Jillian Michaels Body Language
Neck of Fear & Mouth of Fear

This recent video interview of Jillian Michaels is loaded with great body language examples. Perhaps the best one is seen during 2:31 - 2:33 when she confesses that she hasn't been to the gym in weeks. She displays the classic "neck of fear" as well as the "mouth of fear". Of course fear is relative and the different components of its body language display can tell us more. We can be afraid of a stranger with a gun or afraid of failing a test - or show fear as an expression of empathy. Other nonverbals can tell us the magnitude. Here the star of "The Biggest Looser" is afraid of being perceived as a hypocrite or something similar.

Ms. Michaels (and everyones') "neck of fear" is made by the contraction of many of the muscles there - particularly the thin layer of muscle just beneath the skin on the whole front side of the neck and beneath the jaw - the platysma. Contraction of this muscle gives this particular highly characteristic "tenting up" appearance (still image below) of the neck. Fear is the only emotion which causes this platysma contraction and appearance.  Her lips are also stretched laterally together with a mildly clenched teeth. This is a mild to moderate example of the mouth of fear. With more severe levels of fear the jaw separates and pulls backwards and down. 

There are some other nonverbal elements of the fear expression which are not present here. What are these components and why are they not seen?

See also:

Negotiation Secret # 329: Angela Merkel and the Neck of Fear

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1927:  Italy's Fans watching Euro 2012 Final - Expressions of Fear

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2031:  Tina Fey arriving at Alec Baldwin's Wedding,  Fear-Empathy with a (partial) Sincere Smile - Emotional Dissonance

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2261:  Mom pulls Python off of her 2 year old daughter -  Body Language & Microexpression of Fear

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2303:  Karen & Jim Reynolds Interview -  Rogue Ex-Cop Christopher Dorner's Last Hostages  Microexpression of Fear - but it's not what you think ...

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

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

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