Friday, October 31, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2997: Halloween Haunted Houses - Transitioning from Expressions of Surprise to Fear (PHOTOS)

In the spirit of Halloween, today's post includes photos from "Nightmares Fear Factory" in Niagara Falls, Canada.

The two primary emotions seen in these images are surprise and fear. The following is a partial body language analysis of these moments.

Surprise is the shortest-lived emotion - if it is sincere. Surprise that lasts for more than two to three seconds has a high probability to be either psychological shock (e.g. Watching the World Trade Center Collapse, hearing about or watching a car-accident, etc.) or, much more commonly - it has an large component (perhaps completely) of insincerity. Sincere surprise is almost always followed very rapidly by a second emotion - such as anger, sadness, joy, embarrassment, etc. ... or as in these examples - fear.

In the image above, the man's expression is past that of surprise and has transitioned to fear. Baring of his teeth as well as the corners of his mouth being pulled downward and backward is highly characteristic of fear.

Note the mouth of the girl on the far left in the stripe pants. The corners of her mouth are pulled down and back - yet her teeth are not showing. The lack of teeth exposure in this acute phase is consistent with a lower level of fear.

The girl on the right side of this photo in the pink colored top has a mouth configuration highly indicative of surprise - note its vertical elongation and lack of visible teeth. Contrast this to her friend with the white jacket - her mouth has widened horizontally. She has already transitioning to an emotion of fear.

This is a great photo similar to the one immediately above, both men are in an emotional state of surprise (again, their mouths are more vertically elongated - with no teeth showing [reflections of tongues can sometime appear similar to teeth, yet no teeth are visible here]) - yet the man in the blue shirt has a mouth a few tens of milliseconds ahead of his friend - in the very early stages of a "mouth of fear".

A fraction of a second later we see the man on the left expression has transitioned more fully to a "mouth of fear" - while his friend is responding more slowly and lags behind somewhat still in a state of surprise.

It is interesting and typical that a person in a fear state will hide behind something - inanimate or even another person - as is seen here.

There is also a pulling inwards of both the arms and legs closer to the center of the body in a protective mode.

It is also thought provoking that so many men hid behind women.

Happy Halloween!

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2996: Daniel Radcliffe Raps Blackalicious' "Alphabet Aerobics" on Tonight Show/Jimmy Fallon

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2957: Derek Jeter Gatorade - Made in New York Commercial - A Little Boy's Classic Surprise

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2951: Miss America 2015 - Sincerity, Surprise and Botox

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret No. 1171:  Not So Fast Swift ....  Taylor's False Surprise

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2274:  The Eyes & Mouth of Fear -  Body Language of Ahmed Dogan during  Attempted Assassination

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2833: Edward Snowden & Neck of Fear - Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2313: Elisa Lam Video in Elevator at Cecil Hotel - What Her Body Language Tells Us ....


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2996: Daniel Radcliffe Raps Blackalicious' "Alphabet Aerobics" on Tonight Show/Jimmy Fallon (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

On Tuesday Daniel Radcliffe was a guest on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon". The Harry Potter star is of course an accomplished actor of both stage and screen (and, as you learn here if you haven't yet seen the video, he's also an excellent rapper). Yet before he got himself "in character" - when he was just being Daniel - he was quite nervous.

Below is a partial analysis of Daniel Radcliffe's nonverbals leading up to his rendition of Blackalicious' "Alphabet Aerobics"


Radcliffe pulls up sock - this is a general and reliable anxiety indicator.

To thin-slice this specific body language even further, in sub-context, a man adjusting his socks also very often indicates anticipated action (often physical, but not always) which is eliciting the anxiety. Another way of thinking of the sock adjust, is that it signals the need for being more assertive, or up-regulating one's alpha qualities. Can you name any other nonverbal up-regulators?

Note also Mr. Radcliffe closes both of his eyes in an extended blink - a reliable indicator here of emotional processing (his emotions are trying to catch up to what his intellect already knows - he's about to perform a very difficult rap song on a major television show). 

0:16 Finger to mouth

At 0:13 Radcliffe says, "Every kid in my cl<stutter>, I, I think I was the first kid in my class to learn all the words to 'Real Slim Shady' ". At 0:16 as he says, "... learn ...." his (index) finger goes very briefly to his mouth. In the context of a declarative and definitive statement, this is a reliable indicator of deception.

0:38 - 0:52

Daniel displays a common general anxiety indicator - one of many varieties of self-touching MAPs (Manipulator, Adaptor, Pacifier) - squeezing and pinching his thumb



Another general anxiety indicator - a "Hard Swallow"


A subtle "Mouth of Fear" can be seen at the 0:48 mark

Voice, also betraying nervousness, cracks as he says, " ... well yeah ..."


A very subtle and rapid "Neck of Fear" with a tightening of Radcliffe's neck muscles is seen at 0:49. This must be viewed in the dynamic context of the above video to appreciate its subtlety.


At the 0:52 mark a "Thumb Shrug" is displayed. A thumb shrug is usually a truncated form of a standard shrug.

Shrugs most commonly indicate, "I don't know", "I don't care" or "What does it matter?" - and some may make the argument that the last of these three is exemplified here. Yet, this is another meaning of a shrug when accompanied by blushing (seen in this body language cluster context as well) along the other anxiety indicators mentioned above. This displays the emotion of a type of self-resignation or acquiescence in the context of pre-embarrassment - as if very much to say, "Here I go - but cut me some slack."

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2995: 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman - Catcalls, Street Harassment, Body Language, Personal Safety & Threat Assessment

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2450:  Daniel Radcliffe on The Graham Norton Show -  Deception, Mirroring and Anxiety

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2947: Governor Rick Perry - Beta Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2641: John McCain with Protesters in Kiev, Ukraine - You Feel Safe There?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2914: François Hollande, Anxiety and Dialing up his Alpha   

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2344:  Jillian Michaels Body Language  Neck of Fear & Mouth of Fear

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2328:  Senator Rand Paul's Body Language -  Pens, Lies and Filibusters -  Finger to Mouth Surrogates


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2995: 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman - Catcalls, Street Harassment, Body Language, Personal Safety & Threat Assessment (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Rob Bliss of Rob Bliss Creative wanted to spotlight, in an objective manner, street harassment - which although many men are oblivious to, is a pervasive problem in every country in the World. Partnering with Hollaback, a nonprofit dedicated towards ending street harassment, and actress Shoshana B. Roberts, Bliss captured this video on the streets of New York City.

Several people followed her, but one individual - referred to below as John Doe, does so for five minutes. His behavior is more than catcalling or harassment - it is predatory. Had this street been less populated or if it were night, Ms. Roberts probably would have been assaulted. A partial nonverbal analysis follows: 

0:49 John Doe first comes into view

He's looking at his mobile phone.


He says, "Hello good morning" to a woman he does not know.

Immediately his attention focuses on Ms. Roberts.

Note at first his hands are out of his pockets and his arms are swinging with modest amplitude. This is normal for relaxed, low anxiety walking.  Notice also, Mr. John Doe has a normal foot plant (heel-to-toe movement for relaxed people with a normal healthy gait)


John Doe says, "God bless you, have a good day alright?"

His pace momentarily remains slower than hers, which affords him to look at her from behind also allowing him to ensure she is alone.  Then he increases his pace so that he matches her walking speed, yet he is about 1/2 a stride behind her. Maintaining this position is overtly predatory. Immediately and instinctively the person in front becomes quite nervous and on-edge.

0:54 seconds

John Doe drops even further back, still assessing a woman who he does not know. His gait is beginning to increase at this moment - his decision to follow her is made in this instant.

Less than a second later in the video (0:54.5 second mark, yet about 2 minutes later in real time of walking [video is edited]), John Doe has changed is body language. He is walking quicker to keep pace with her. Moreover his weight is now distributed significantly forward than earlier - more on toes - as is normal when preparing for physical action. Both of his hands are also in his pockets. This is another red flag, particularly when they were out shortly before when he was walking alone. Hands that aren't swinging while walking are very often seen prior to attack. He could be hiding and preparing to use a weapon, although even without a weapon, in this context it suggests preparing for physical action. Note also that his hands are not relaxed and resting in his pockets, but oriented forward and upwards - this is an amplifier & further nonverbal tell of the anxiety of readiness for physical action.

John Doe continues his position about 1/2 of a stride behind Ms. Roberts. With respect to potential violence, walking in this configuration relative to another person (particularly a stranger), for 2 minutes is extremely suspicious. His steps are intermittently synchronized with hers.

1:03 in video

Four minutes of walking beside Ms. Roberts, still a half a stride behind, and with both his hands remaining in his pockets, John Doe again assesses the immediate vicinity - as is often seen in animals or man just prior to attack. His steps here are more synchronized with Roberts' stride. 

1:06 in video

After five minutes of walking 1/2 stride behind her, his hands are still in his pockets - however stride in this moment is not synchronized.

He is walking even more with his center-of-gravity forward, on his toes.

Although his face is deliberately blurred here we can tell that his lips are pursed forward (displayed by a relative alpha with clandestine disagreement or clandestine plan with a believed high likelihood of success) and his jaw is also jutting forward (very commonly seen in anger and prior to sudden physical activity).


Again, he looks over to assess the situation (not looking at her body).


1. John Doe, an unknown, makes a catcall to a woman he does not know

2. He assesses the physical situation first from behind

3. Speeds up to match her walking speed

4. Walks 1/2 step behind her for 5 minutes

5. Hands changed from outside, swinging and relaxed to inside his pockets, common before attack   
    (Or to gain access a weapon). Moreover his hands are not relaxed in his pockets, but directed
    forwards and upwards - a further signal of anxiety for readiness and anticipating physical action.
6. Followed her for 5 minutes

7. No talking after initial catcall, only silence

8. Changing to anticipatory "Toe Walking", after normal relaxed gait

9. Jaw Jut

10. Forward Lip Purse

This is highly suspicious and predatory behavior is strongly suggestive that John Doe was impromptu planning an attack on Ms. Roberts. All of these signs are significant and particularly when taken together indicate the probability of attack was extremely high and most likely he decided against assault due to the constant proximity of Rob Bliss with the hidden camera, the relative crowd and/or daylight. There is also an extremely high probability he has a history of similar behavior.

Thank you to Rob Bliss Creative, Soshana B. Roberts and Hollaback for bringing attention and empathy to the profoundly under-addressed problem of street Harassment.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2994: Mike Jones to Barack Obama - "Mr. President, Don't Touch My Girlfriend"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2594: Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin Harassment, Part II - Miami Dolphins Coach Joe Philbin's Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2462:  San Diego Mayor Bob Filner -  Sexual Harassment, Body Language and Foreheads

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2260:  'Top Chef' host Padma Lakshmi regarding  New Delhi's recent gang-rape,  Indian Culture and Sexual-Physical Harassment - Body Language Nuance

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2512:  Matthew Cordle's YouTube Confession  and the Death of Vincent Canzani  "I Killed a Man" - What His Body Language Tells Us ...  It's NOT what you think!

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2982: Politicians Should Never Do This If They Want To Be Elected - Hillary Clinton's Body Language Faux Pas

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2601: "Governor Christie, Are You a Tea Party Republican?" Why His Answer Tells Us Whether or Not He Will Run for President in 2016


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2994: Mike Jones to Barack Obama - "Mr. President, Don't Touch My Girlfriend" (VIDEO, PHOTO)

Last week while Barack Obama was voting early in Chicago, Mike Jones (a random voter who happened to be voting as well) told the President, "Don't kiss my Girlfriend". As he did so he pointed his index finger his left index finger towards her (Aia Cooper). This universally offensive body language takes on an additional alpha meaning here - it's a dare or a challenge - very much like drawing a line in the sand. Rather than cherishing or valuing his girlfriend, it objectifies Ms. Cooper.

Yet this illustrator is not by any means the only telling information here. At the 0:55 second mark, just after he says, "Now he's, now he's really jealous" - a brief "Tongue-in-Cheek" expression can be seen on the President

Depending on the other nonverbals with which it is clustered, the tongue-in-cheek can indicate, anger, sadness, deception, grief, or even sexually provocative emotional tones. Yet none of these are applicable in this moment (Can you tell why [nonverbally] none of these aforesaid emotions are present here?).

In this instant, the President is feeling smug, e.g., "I just won" or "I got you".

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2665: Nick Saban's "Tongue in Cheek" Body Language - What Does It Mean?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2434:  Brad Pitt's Tongue-in-Cheek regarding  Reasons for Choosing to Work on "World War Z"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2352:  Mila Kunis' Tongue in Cheek  Graham Norton Part II

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2962: Denzel Washington, Lenny Kravitz & David Letterman - Body Language of .... 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis #2160: Index Finger (Forefinger) Pointing in Politics - The Third (and Final) 2012 Presidential Debates - Body Language of Being an Alpha Male without Offending 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2360:  Bill Clinton and the Body Language of a  "Loose Hand, Palm Up Point"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2989: Jessica Chastain, "Interstellar", David Letterman and a Partial Emblematic Slip

Monday, October 27, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2993: Fight in Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport - Passengers Break Up Homophobic Attack - Threat Assessment Warning Signs (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

There was an interesting and very illustrative incident caught on camera phone today at Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport. A man who was very probably under the influence of drugs or alcohol (not confirmed yet though) yelled, used profane language and homophobic slurs at another man while others tried to de-escalate the situation. The perpetrator also repeatedly using obscene gestures and other inflammatory body language. 

What nonverbal cues occurred here which, with very high probability, indicated that this obviously deranged individual would assault someone?

The answer is the repeated incursions into the personal space of others (and similar behaviors) by the man in question. Whenever you see repeated deliberate invasions of the personal space, be warned - for there is a very high likelihood that violence will ensue. While those passengers around him were coming to another man's aid, in infinite other settings where security personnel were not so readily available and security and surveillance are not foremost in other travelers minds', this assault would have progressed rapidly and become much more violent.

0:07 attempting to grab phone away

Of course this is an assault. Security should have been called immediately at this time (perhaps before, but no earlier video is available).


Second provocative invasion of personal space


3rd encroachment into personal space


4th encroachment


The perpetrator can be seen giving the middle finger gesture (a universal emblem of profanity) with both hands to another man while leaning towards him.

This "double-bird with leaning forward" nonverbal cluster is highly predictive of potential violence.

Although he is not in this man's personal space at this moment, the act of leaning toward him with this (and similar) body language is an amplifier of personal space violation - essentially closing the space between him and the person/people to whom it's directed - ergo the 5th encroachment.


6th Encroachment

0:29 Jacket Removal

A psychological line is crossed here. This is another high-likelihood predictor of violence about to begin.


7th Encroachment with a third man


8th encroachment


9th encroachment


10th encroachment 

0:58 - 1:03

11th encroachment


12th encroachment

His hyperbolic/melodramatic movements also are predictive of
increased likelihood of violent behavior.


13th encroachment


14th encroachment


Sexually provocative gesture which, like the middle finger, effectively closes the space between the perpetrator and to whomever it's directed.

15th encroachment


The major assault begins

While personal space varies depending on the country or culture (e.g. closer in Southern Europe with greater distances in Northern Europe), city density (closer in New York City and further apart in Salt Lake City) and the micro-environment/building use (closer in an airport than in a library) - "Personal Distance" is usually defined as 1.5 to 4.0 feet (46-122 cm). Anything closer is considered "Intimate Distance" and usually reserved for family, close friends and lovers (although in scenarios such as subways or airplanes are temporary exceptions). "Social Distance" is from 4 to 12 feet (1.2-3.7 meters) and "Public Distance" is anything greater than 12 feet (3.7 meters).

It seems that the security personnel should have stepped in much sooner, particularly at an airport and a major one at that. Deliberate and provocative encroachment into another person's personal space should never be taken as someone "just venting", arguing or discussing. Disengage, seek shelter and/or law enforcement immediately.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2992: Michigan State's Football Coach Mark Dantonio, "I can only be diplomatic for so long ..." - Disrespect, Contempt and Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2656: Threat Assessment during Robbery - Body Language of Perpetrator

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2828: Elliot Roger, Isla Vista/U.C. Santa Barbara Mass Shooting & Threat Assessment - Body Language and Threat Assessment

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2897: Fifty Shades of Grey - Part II - Warning Signs & Threat Assessment

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2858: Hope Solo, Domestic Violence, Arrests and Wedding Rings - Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2039:  Fight Outside Florida Courtroom -  Jaw Jut Prior to Violence

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2955: Adrian Peterson - a Telling Body Language Cluster


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2992: Michigan State's Football Coach Mark Dantonio, "I can only be diplomatic for so long ..." - Disrespect, Contempt and Body Language (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

For those who follow American College Football, there was an interesting occurrence in the pregame activity between the Michigan State University and University of Michigan teams yesterday. Joe Bolden, a U. of M. junior linebacker, drove a tent stake into the turf at Michigan State's stadium - and this was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back for Mark Dantonio. The Spartan Coach alluded to this and other past disrespectful actions in a post-game news conference, a portion of which is included in the above video.

This is a very good nonverbal example of contempt being briefly displayed layered on top of a baseline manifestation of anger. Watch this first with the volume on, then review it once more with the sound muted. Did you spot the microexpression of contempt?

The expression of anger persists throughout the entire video - and most people identify it easily.

Here (during 0:31) Dantonio's eyebrows are seen drawn together with the center (medial) portions of the eyebrows also displaced downwards. Additionally, the coach has significant mid-face tension. What other components of anger are present in this moment?

Now go back to the very beginning of the video (during 0:05) just prior to and during the word "... say ...", Mark Dantonio displays an excellent example of a microexpression of contempt.

There are many types of  microexpressions and contempt is only one. It is also important to note that as with all emotions, contempt may last for significantly longer duration. There are also other patterns and characteristics of contempt not seen in this example. That being said, contempt is very well exampled here and to fully appreciate the dynamics of this body language-facial expression, be sure to view the video several times.

Very few people can see microexpressions naturally, yet virtually everybody can be trained to spot these profoundly valuable nonverbal tells. 

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2991: Citizen Pulls over a Cop - Gavin Siem flags down Grant County Deputy Dustin Canfield

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2811: Jason and David Benham are Dropped from HGTV - Body Language of Subtle Contempt, Anger & Disgust

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2956: Eric Frein - Suspect in Murder of Pennsylvania Officer - Body Language Sign of Impeding Violence

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

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2765: Obama, Romney, Russia and Facial Asymmetry - Contempt at The Hague

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2742: Vladimir Putin on the Crisis Ukraine - Thin Slicing Levels of Anger

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1863:  Sharapova's Lips of Anger


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2991: Gavin Siem flags down Grant County Deputy Dustin Canfield - Body Language Tells (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

In the above video a citizen, Gavin Siem, flags down Grant County, Washington Deputy Sheriff Dustin Canfield to inform him he is breaking the law by using an unmarked patrol car for traffic-related purposes. The video is packed full of highly significant nonverbal signals. The following three images exemplify a simultaneous mixture of three emotions on Officer Canfield's face during a three second segment - although fluctuations of these are occurring.

Incredulity, anger and contempt are all clustered in this moment during the 0:31 mark.

Anger and contempt are the most prevalent (roughly equal) - while his incredulity level is somewhat less.

During 0:33, both Officer Canfield's disbelief increases along with his contempt - while his anger diminishes. 

In this moment (0:34), again we see all three emotions with disbelief and contempt growing even more prominent.

While Officer Canfield certain feels justified in feeling all three of these emotions (and compared to other law enforcement officers he's controlling his temper better the majority would be doing) - their display only serves to escalate the emotional level of both himself as well as whomever he is interacting. This often leads to a crescendo of the same three emotions on both individuals. Those whom have a high likelihood of being in similar scenarios would do well to undergo training in emotional self-awareness thereby increasing safety, effectiveness - and rapport.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2990: Jaylen Fryberg - alleged School Shooter - Washington's Marysville-Pilchuck High School - Body Language Tells & Warning Signs

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 412:  Newt Gingrich is Incredulous

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1600:  Senator Marco Rubio -  Sincerity, Self-directed Incredulity & Humor, Blocking and Appeals for the Vice Presidency

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2386:  Julia Louis-Dryfus on Conan -  One Signal of Incredulity  How Often Do You Miss This Body Language Signal?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2138: President Obama's Anger-Frustration During Debate - An Under-Appreciated Body Language Signal

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2514: Anthony Weiner's Confrontation - Contrasting and Controlling Anger  Body Language in a Brooklyn Bakery

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2965: A Variation of a Microexpression of Contempt Commonly Confused & Disguised


Friday, October 24, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2990: Jaylen Fryberg - alleged School Shooter - Washington's Marysville-Pilchuck High School - Body Language Tells & Warning Signs (PHOTO)

This is an image of Jaylen Fryberg taken from his social media. He is alleged to have shot five students, killing one before shooting himself earlier today. The shooting occurred at Washington's Marysville-Pilchuck High School, near Seattle where Fryberg was a freshman.

From a behavioral and nonverbal perspective, this image is highly notable for the emotion of contempt Fryberg is so prominently displaying. In addition, his posting the picture on social media carries additional signaling ... and warning. While every person experiences contempt and thus displays its expression occasionally - it is profoundly important to note that those who commit mass shootings, terrorism and other violent acts display chronic expressions of contempt and/or disgust - and must not be ignored or discounted.

My condolences to those affected by this tragedy.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2989: Jessica Chastain, "Interstellar", David Letterman and a Partial Emblematic Slip

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2828: Elliot Roger, Isla Vista/U.C. Santa Barbara Mass Shooting & Threat Assessment - Body Language and Threat Assessment

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2639: Denver School Shooting and a Body Language of High Empathy

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2231: A Common Facial Expression of Mass Killers - Using Body Language as a Threat Assessment Tool


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2989: Jessica Chastain, "Interstellar", David Letterman and a Partial Emblematic Slip (VIDEO, PHOTO)

Jessica Chastain was on the Late Show with David Letterman recently promoting her new film, "Interstellar". Observing actors during interviews and talk shows are very good settings to watch when endeavoring to learn body language. Watch this short with the sound off and then a second time with regular volume. When great actors using the Stanislavski Method are "in character" - their nonverbals tend to be much more accurate, e.g. their words, vocal qualities and nonverbals are congruent. However when interviewed, and when they're "just being themselves" - they are often no better than average (even the Oscar winners).

What follows are two moments of Jessica Chastain's nonverbal reaction just after David Letterman spoofs "Interstellar" with a clip from a circa 1930's movie.

In this first moment during 10:57, Ms. Chastain's primary emotion is disgust. This is shown by tightening of her mid-face region and nostril flaring. It is amplified by her extended blinking.

Jessica's left arm and hand configuration are both blocking/forming barriers to Dave - yet more importantly her hand is signifying critical evaluation.

Here, less than a second later, Ms. Chastain continues yet refines her critical evaluation. Note her middle finger is both telling Dave to "shut up" and more importantly flipping him off. This is just one - yet a very classic example - for what in body language terminology is known as a "Partial Emblematic Slip" (Ekman) and is highly reliable signal. It is partial because it's not the fully displayed bird. This example is subconscious while a full bird is very conscious. An emblem is a nonverbal sign, often but not always involving the hands, the meaning of which is widely known.

Jessica is proud of her work and she believes this was a cheap shot. Note Dave is somewhat mirroring her behavior - not giving her the middle finger, but covering his own mouth with a surrogate finger (his pencil). Dave thought it was a cheap too and is regretting the low-grade jest.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2988: How did John Elway feel about Peyton Manning's Touchdown Record?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2268:  Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Kathryn Bigelow & Jessica Chastain - Body Language at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2640: Disgust at Denver area School Shooting

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2603: Sarah Palin's Body Language - She Feels Disgust toward Pope Francis and ... She Tells a Fib

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 1818:  Political Correctness, a Partial Emblematic Slip  at a Falcon, Colorado Elementary School

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2817: Rep. Joe Garcia Picks His Ear & Eats it - What his Body Language Really is Saying

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2971: Not Giving Good Actors an Easy Pass - Interstellar Trailer - When the Body Language is Not Congruent with Real Life


Monday, October 20, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2988: How did John Elway feel about Peyton Manning's Touchdown Record? (PHOTOS)

Those of you who are American football fans are of course fully aware that last night Peyton Manning broke Brett Favre's career record for touchdown passes. By the end of his play he had added another as well finishing the night with 4 touchdowns and with 510 for his career.

Of course, the Denver Broncos General Manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations is John Elway. Elway captained the Broncos to five Super Bowl appearances of which two were victorious - and also had 300 career touchdown passes (fifth all time in the NFL). Manning thus far has three career Super Bowl appearances - one with Denver and two with Indianapolis, however his only victory was with the Colts.

The following is a brief nonverbal analysis of John Elway captured immediately after Peyton's record 509th touchdown pass.

Obviously, Elway is clapping in the image above as well this second photo which shows his final clap - which is very conscious body language behavior. Evaluating his face however, even at this low resolution, we can see his thinned lips, an inward lip roll (partial), downward directed mouth corners, his mid-face tension, nostril flaring, eyelids partially and tightly closed, downward vectored eyebrows and, in the first image above, we can see the eyebrows are pulled together as well.

This nonverbal facial cluster configuration is consistent with anger-disgust - and is subconsciously generated.

Here all the above facial features persist with the exception of the addition of a greater degree of inward lip roll - consistent with a subconscious attempt to suppress his negative emotions - as his hands go in his pockets.

When a man puts his hands in his pockets (with the exception of deliberately posing for a picture) - it signals lower levels of emotional comfort, lower confidence and disengagement. Here Elway is a turtle wanting to go into his shell.

In this moment Elway's hands are fully inside his pockets - with the expression of disgust very clearly demonstrated.

In summary, John Elway has anger-disgust during the celebratory moments of Manning's record breaking performance. Although other possibilities exist, the context of this moment strongly suggests these emotions are either self-directed - e.g. Elway is feeling he could have and should have done better in his career - or they are being projected at Peyton Manning as a manifestation of jealousy.

It is also profoundly important to note that whenever a conscious body language act (e.g., clapping) is seen with unconscious nonverbals - it is the unconscious behaviors which betray the true emotions. Gloss over this caveat at your peril.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2987: Tristan Thompson Kisses Sideline Reporter Allie Clifton 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2690: Peyton Manning Explains the Meaning of "Omaha" Call - Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2622: Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, What Faces Reveal - Body Language in Foxborough

Negotiation Secret # 146: Anthony Weiner's Inward Lip Roll

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2443:  Kristen Wiig's Disgust & Fear Face -  Graham Norton, Chris O'Dowd and Fly Eating

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2912: Gerald Ford Pardoning of Richard Nixon

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2074:  Mitt Romney and Senator Kelly Ayotte  What Body Language Tells?