Saturday, September 21, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2529: Ambassador Thomas Pickering on Benghazi Probe and a Body Language Microexpression Tell (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

This past Thursday, Republican members of the House Oversight Committee grilled Thomas Pickering (former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, under the George H.W. Bush Administration, as well as Ambassador to both Russia and India) and Admiral Mike Mullen (former Joint Chiefs of Staff under George W. Bush and Barack Obama) on their probe of the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya on 11 September 2012. Mullen and Pickering were co-chairs of the Accountability Review Board, an independent probe assembled to evaluate the State Department's and Obama Administration's handling of the matter.

Note: The original video has, since the original post, been removed from its online source. The images below however, were captured from this video.

There was no shortage of body language examples in this video. One in particular bears dissecting. Reporter Sharyl Attkisson interviews Ambassador Pickering. The following is excerpted dialog from that interview and begins at 2:14 in the above video:

Attkisson: "Do you think in retrospect it might have been a good idea just to do some proforma deep interviews with the Secretary of State and her top deputies?"

Pickering: "No, I don't. We took a hard look at this. And we took a very serious look; and I think we made that decision in good conscious, on the basis on everything we had - that there was no trail."

At the 2:26 mark, just as Pickering says the word "...made...", he displays a fantastic example of what in the body language world is referred to as a "microexpression of disgust" (There are, of course, many varieties of microexpressions and disgust is but one).

Note how the bridge of Pickering's nose wrinkles in addition to the dilation (flaring) of both his nostrils. This is a facial configuration which always accompanies disgust nonverbal displays. Notice also the corners of the Ambassador's mouth are vectored downward (depressed) while his central lower lip is both raised and slightly protruded. His central upper lip is also elevated as his "mustache area" is tightened and stretched in concert with his nostril dilation. His eyebrows are also lowered (subtle here, and also not pulled together as is seen with anger). Eyelid closure is not required in the manifestation of disgust, but it is seen - often in more extreme cases. Finally, although both are subtle in this example, the nasal-labial furrow can also momentarily deepen along with a dimpling of the chin.

Your ability to spot and accurately classify microepressions and a myriad of other nonverbal displays will give you a distinct advantage in the court room, the board room, the sales floor and indeed every aspect of your personal and professional life. Ignore them at your own risk.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2507:  Secretary of State Kerry's Disgust, An Oft Overlooked and Camouflaged Body Language Signal

Negotiation Secret # 72 & 73: Christine Lagarde's Disgust & Incredulity

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1841:  Disgust in Response to Rep. Barney Frank's "Hoodie" Joke

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1496:  Tiger Woods' Disgust & Biofeedback

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2045:  Disgust in New Delhi 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2416:  Brit Marling, the Every Woman & "The East"  Body Language of Mild to Moderate Disgust and ...

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2390:  Charles Ramsey Interview & Cleveland Kidnappings -  Sarcastic Disbelief, Disgust and Exclamation