Monday, June 24, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2441:
Paula Deen's Apology - What Does Her Body Language Say?

Julia Roberts is famously known for saying, "... I want my kids to know when I’m pissed, when I’m happy, and when I’m confounded. Your face tells a story… and it shouldn’t be a story about your drive to the doctor’s office." She was referring to the dramatic increased use of Botox and plastic surgery.

Paula Deen's recent apologies regarding her use of racial slurs in the past is a poignant reminder of Robert's statement. As in all communication, an apology is composed of verbal, paralanguage (tone, word choice, volume, speed, cadence, etc.) and nonverbal components. If an apology is sincere there should always be complete congruence between all three of these levels.

Because Ms. Deen has had Botox treatments to her forehead, we cannot see the Central Forehead Contraction (CFC) in the typical and expected manner. Instead her whole forehead is significantly hypo-reactive. Her relative lack of this empathy expression (CFC also known as the "grief muscle") is detected by most all of us subconsciously and leaves us feeling like "something isn't quite right". It's one reason that some who have seen this apology do not feel she is sincere.

Take special note here that in such cases of apologies, this CFC must also have a congruent mouth expression - e.g. sadness, and never even a trace of a smile. Also of particular importance is that many times the central forehead is contracted when there is insincerity present - Can you tell one from the other?

Are there any other nonverbal signals which indicate insincerity?

What body language-facial expressions are present here which signify sincerity?

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2424:  Giada De Laurentiis on Conan O'Brien  Beautiful Teeth but Insincere Smiles and  Some Body Language Signals of Waning Love

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 367: Insincere Smile - Van Rompuy needs some Acting Classes

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 353:  Brad Pitt's Smiling Eyes - Sincere and Insincere Smiles 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2124:  This Body Language-Facial Display  Should always make you think "Insincere" 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2157:  Al Smith Charity Dinner  Barack Obama's & Mitt Romney's Smiles  Sincere or False? 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2305:  Carnival Cruise Line CEO, Gerry Cahill's Apology Sincere or Insincere?  What his Body Language Says ... 

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 665:  al Assad's Strong Sign of Insincerity