Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2681: What Did Barack Obama Really think of Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense? (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

After the publishing of his autobiography, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War" Robert Gates voiced significant criticisms of - as well as some praise for Barack Obama. Among these were, "I never doubted [his] support for the troops, only his support for their mission."

Earlier this week, President Obama was asked about Gates as SecDef and his response is included in the video above. In the first two seconds of this clip, the President says, "You know Secretary Gates did an outstanding job for me as Secretary of Defense, ah, as he notes, ah, he and I and the rest of my national security team came up with a strategy for Afghanistan that was the right strategy and we are continuing to execute ..."

During 0:00.5 to 0:02 (coincident with the words noted in red above), Barack Obama displays a "Self Righteous Head Wiggle" (SRHW). This high-frequency, low amplitude, side-to-side wiggling motion is sometimes confused by body language novices as a signal for "no" head shake. Don't make this mistake.

The SRHW nonverbal is an alpha body language display significant for high levels of confidence of whatever idea or opinion being simultaneously verbally expressed (although sometimes it is seen in the absence of speech). In this example it is representative of the President's sincere and positive assessment of Robert Gates job performance as U.S. Secretary of Defense under his command. Notice that the President's words increase in speed while his voice heightens in pitch during the same time. These evanescent vocal qualities are extremely common with the SRHW. It is also not uncommon to see a jaw or torso component along with the SRHW - and sometimes these even exist independently.

Although the following are not present in this example, when a backward movement component is superimposed with the side-to-side motion the added emotion of incredulity or disgust is often being expressed (differentiated by the other facial nonverbals with which it is clustered). A Forward component connotes an additional reprimanding or scolding emotional tone (also not exampled here).

What other significant body language displays do you see in this video?

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2506:  Barack Obama, the Self-Righteous Head Wiggle and  Retaliation Against Syrian Poison Gas Attack

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

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

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2680: Chris Christie's State of the State Address - Body Language Swagger and Sincerity

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2678: French President Fran├žois Hollande, Valerie Trierweiler and Julie Gayet - Of Affairs, Affection and Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2602: Barack Obama at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2595: Barack Obama's Emotional Dissonance, Low Confidence and the "Turtle Retreat" - He Does Not Want To Be There