Monday, January 27, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2702: Barack Obama - Anxiety and Non-engagement; Body Language Signals (PHOTO, VIDEO)

Tomorrow night Barack Obama will give his fifth State of the Union Address. Like most second-term U.S. Presidents, his most recent job approval rating (Gallup) is low at 42 percent. So it's not surprising that in moments of the relative privacy of the Oval Office, President Obama displays body language consistent with this diminished public approval.

Touching one's neck, with rare exception (depending on the other nonverbal signs with which it is clustered), signals significant anxiety. This is but one example of what is termed a Manipulator, Adaptor or Pacifier (MAP). The president's full palmar contact with the neck is acts as a signal-amplifier.

Take note of the position of Mr. Obama's left hand. Despite the "Hollywood-ization" of men posing with hands in their pockets, it sends messages of withdraw. It's a significant beta signal of lowered confidence and lowered emotional comfort. A useful metaphor to characterize this body language is a turtle going in it's shell (aka "Turtle Retreat").

Pick up any other subtleties which up-regulate or down-regulate POTUS's anxiety level?

See also:

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

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2620: President Obama Tells a Couple Fibs - "Norming" Barack's Body Language

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

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2646: Does Barack Obama Want to Go to the Sochi (Russia) Winter Olympics? What His Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2593: Barack Obama, Insurance Cancellations and Signals of Low Confidence

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2511:  Barack Obama & Vladimir Putin  Handshake at 2013 G20 Meeting