Saturday, March 15, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2752: Barack Obama, Zach Galifianakis, Funny or Die - Body Language (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Earlier this week President Obama made an appearance on "Funny or Die" (Between Two Ferns). Interviewed by Zach Galifianakis, he was going after younger Americans in an effort to get more signed-up for the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare").

For those who may be unfamiliar with "Between Two Ferns" - it's a talk show/interview parody. Zach is acting and so is the Barack - but the President doesn't have quite so much polish. While the President is a very good public speaker - and a relatively good "actor", some of his responses were NOT acting. Mr. Obama's nonverbal signals gave us clues as to his real emotional tone.


After Galifianakis asks him about Dennis Rodman and North Korea (and then calls it "North Ikea"), the President manifests subtle disgust. His prolonged bilateral eyelid closure (extended blink) in this context is a disgust amplifier.


The President's is using his "Political Point" with his left hand in a manner not typical for him. Rather than the oval or round space made by the closure of the tips of the thumb and forefinger (index finger) - he is pinching them together so that their enclosure forms a tear-drop shape. This slight but highly significant change in his body language indicates a component of anger is present - and if we look to his face in this moment - indeed subtle anger is manifested. In this context, what does his extended blink indicate?


Here the President displays anger in a different manner - with a transient clenching of his jaw muscles as well as partial closure of his eyelids with tension present in the lower eyelids.

During high levels of anger (e.g. rage), the eyelids will become widely opened. 


Note here Barack Obama's eyelids are partially closed as well - however in contrast to the image immediately above, there are bilateral concave-up dynamic (transient) furrows present on his lower lids. Both of these two photos example the eyelids partially closed - but in entirely different manners expressing opposite emotions.

In this image the President's forehead is also relaxed yet he is suppressing his mouth-smile. His emotion at this instant is one of Joy-Happiness, ergo a sincere, yet suppressed smile (Suppressed Duchenne Smile).

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2363: Hillary Clinton, Body Language and the Political Point -  Hand Tension Correlations with Facial Tension

Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1995:  Barack Obama, Social Darwinism and the Political Point

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2751: Oscar Pistorius, Reeva Steenkamp, Gina Meyers and Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1858:  What the Eyes Do - Transitioning from Mild to Severe Anger

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2741: Lupita Nyong'o Wins an Oscar - Signal of high sincerity and empathy

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2546: Miss America Nina Davuluri, A Beautiful Woman - but What of Her Smile?

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 457:  Salman Rushdie - and a Contempt Amplifier

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2750: Oscar Pistorius, Reeva Steenkamp and Lies - Body Language