Monday, March 31, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2771: Australian PM Tony Abbott regarding Malaysian Airlines MH370 Search - Body Language Misinterpretations and Regret (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

The hunt for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 has captured much of the World's attention during the last three weeks. Yesterday Tony Abbott, the Australian Prime Minister, spoke again on the issue and his country's commitment to leading the search.

Mr. Abbott's nonverbals in this video provide some very illustrative and valuable lessons. Of the two examples discussed here, one is a false signal - oft misinterpreted, and the other is a rarely recognized microexpression. What follows is a partial body language analysis:

At multiple times throughout this video, Mr. Abbott's central forehead and left forehead muscles can be seen to be contracting - while Mr. Abbott's right forehead remains relaxed. This is most probably due to old trauma damaging a portion of the P.M.'s right facial nerve (Cranial Nerve VII) or some other cause of facial nerve palsy (e.g. a partially resolved  idiopathic cause aka Bell's Palsy).

It is also possible (although doubtful in this example) that a significantly asymmetrical forehead contraction be secondary to uneven administration of Botox.

This asymmetry can often lead to the erroneous impression that Mr. Abbott is doubtful or in frank disbelief of his own or others peoples' statements (e.g. if he displayed this same expression while he was listening).

Great care must be taken is such circumstances to avoid this false-incredulity nonverbal.

Beginning at 0:49, Mr. Abbott continues, "... We are searching a vast area of ocean, and ah, we are working on, ah, quite limited information. Never the less, the - best brains in the World - are applying themselves to this task, ah, all of the technological mastery that we have, ah, is being applied and brought to bear here [deep inhalation with downward distant gaze] .... so, [microexpression of regret at 1:14] ... if this mystery IS solvable, ah, we will solve it. But I don't want to underestimate just how difficult it is..."

Note how the left corner of Mr. Abbott's mouth evanescently contracts laterally in this example of a microexpression of regret.

In distinction to the first example in this post, an important distinction to see here is how only Mr. Abbott's central forehead is contracted (CFC) in this instant. Coupled with his left-mouth microexpression of regret, his downward, distant gaze and slightly downward directed inner (medial) eyebrows, this cluster is highly correlative for significant emotional pain - most significantly expressing empathy for those lost on MH370 and their loved-ones.

There is a multitude of other body language in this video. What other signals did you notice?

See also:

Negotiation Body Language Analysis # 991:  Australia's Aboriginal Angst and Julia Gillard's Hands

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2457:  Surfer Gets Knocked Unconscious by Whale  Body Language Basics from Bondi Beach

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2227:  Sincerity and Insincerity regarding  Suicide Death of Jacintha Saldanha

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2261:  Mom pulls Python off of her 2 year old daughter -  Body Language & Microexpression of Fear

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2414:  Sen. John McCain after his Trip to Syria -  Body Language of Regret and Contempt  ... and Facial Nerve Palsy

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2770: Oscar Pistorius and Contrasting Confidence Levels - Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2150:  Body Language Advice for  President Obama and Governor Romney in Tonight's Debate