Monday, April 7, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2778: April Fools Prank, Embarrassment and Body Language (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

On 1 April Taylor Nefcy and some other students at Thomas Aquinas College punked their Macroeconomics professor Stephen Barrows. He had a policy that if anyone got a call on their cell during class - they would have to answer it on speaker phone so everyone could hear. He didn't count on this hilarious "April Fools" prank though. The moment is captured in the above YouTube video.

Barrow's Body language analysis (partial) demonstrates several key signals of embarrassment as well as sincerity and empathy tells.

Here Professor Barrows covers both his mouth and nose with his lecture notes. This and other surrogates may substitute for the hands during moments of emotional processing.

Had he not been so embarrassed, Barrows would have noticed other students covering their mouths as well - thus giving a clue that he is being set up.

The professor turns away here in an example of a body language amplifier (and extension of his emotional processing). This is a very common nonverbal accompanying embarrassment.

Note the two women to the right of Ms. Nefcy are mirroring Barrows' nonverbals and are also turning away. He is embarrassed for himself - and they are embarrassed for him.

For most of the video Barrows' left hand is in his pocket - for he didn't like embarrassing Ms. Nefcy. He was and still is withdrawing from the moment. He doesn't want to be there - yet he must. 

The moment he figures out that this was an April fool's Joke - he covers his whole face, flexes his entire body in a startle-like response and blushes deeply.

Here Barrow's blushing is easily seen.

What other important nonverbals are seen here?

In this moment - just after Barrows finds out he is being videoed - he displays a full palmar contact over the apex of his heart.

We see encapsulated in this short and funny video several body language signals of high sincerity as well as high empathy quotients - extended mouth and nose covering (by hand and via surrogate), whole face covering, mirroring, blushing and full palmar contact.

Any guesses as to whether Professor Barrows has changed his phone policy?

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2777: President George W. Bush's Paintings of World Leaders - Putin, Berlosconi - Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2764: Embarrassment, Affection & Flirtation - Mila Kunis & Ashton Kutcher - Kiss Cam Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2122:  Eyes White and Wide - Three Body Language Examples with Two Different Emotional Causes

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2664: Anchorman 2 Cast on Graham Norton - A Body Language Signal of Embarrassment

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2582: Jay Carney Dismisses (and is Embarrassed by) Low Obamacare Enrollment Numbers 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2776: James Franco's Mea Culpa - Body Language Tells