Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2426:
Remembering Ronald Reagan,
"Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall"
Body Language at the Brandenburg Gate
(Video, Photos)

Twenty-six years ago today, Ronald Reagan gave his famous Brandenburg Gate Speech. Above is a small but significant excerpt wherein he says, "...Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate [twenty seconds of applause], Mr. Gorbachev ..... Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" The full and unedited speech can be viewed below. Of course he was speaking of the Berlin Wall which fell 29 months later on 9 November 1989.

Very briefly, during the 0:09.5 - 0:10 segment, the American President displays a relatively subtle but highly significant "Self-Righteous Head Wiggle". Abbreviated as SRHW, this highly characteristic nonverbal display is a strong signal of alpha behavior. Those who display it have a high degree of confidence that their plan and/or opinion is in the right. Think of it as one form of nonverbal swagger. Reagan's example here is a fine however subtle example of self-righteous head wiggle (for more dramatic examples, see some of the links below).

The SRHW is composed of a rapid side-to-side movement of the head/neck unit. It often accompanies a very definitive and highly confident verbal statement. There may also be a similar component of torso or jaw (mandible) movement and indeed in the video above you can even see a whole-body side to side shifting just as and after the President says "Mr. Gorbachev". He then speaks the whole second sentence speaking his name again with his famous line, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" This characteristic "Whole Body Swagger" can be viewed during 11:55 - 12:00 in the unedited version below. Some may mistake this for a nervous display - however it is high confidence and a signal that the 76-year old's adrenaline was surging.

Although there is none in this example, there may also be a forward or backward superimposed vector along with the side-to-side movement.

At 0:11 (above video) just as President Reagan says, "tear", he displays a microexpression of contempt. It is impossible to know for whom his contempt was directed. It was almost certainly not Mikhail Gorbachev - for two of the four summits had already taken place and the General Secretary of the Soviet Union and the American President had already established a sincere friendship.

After Mr. Reagan says, "...wall." (0:13 above video) he evanescently displays nonverbal components of two emotions - one of anger (note his thinned upper lip) and regret (his left corner of his mouth is contracted laterally).

Below is the unedited video of the Brandenburg Gate Speech:

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2398:  Self Righteous Head Wiggle, Alpha Behavior &  First Drone Flight Off of an Aircraft Carrier

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1552:  The Self-Righteous Head Wiggle & The Buffett Rule

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2102:  The Self-Righteous Head Wiggle and the  Conventional Steeple vs.Basketball Steeple

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1923:  Hillary Clinton's Body Language re: Syrian Government -  The Self-Righteous Head Wiggle

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2158:  Kennebunk Maine, Alexis Wright, Prostitution & Spotting the Body Language of the Self Righteous

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2148:  Joe Biden vs. Paul Ryan and the  "Self-Righteous Head Wiggle" in the Vice Presidential Debate

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2312:  Bruce Willis' Body Language -  Contempt vs. Suppressed Smile vs.  Pseudo Smile vs. Sincere Smile

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 # 2135:  Ronald Reagan in Nashua, New Hampshire  "I'm Paying for this Microphone Mr. Green!"