Thursday, January 15, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3071: Twins Come Out to Dad - The Rhodes Bros - Body Language of Mirroring (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Austin and Aaron Rhodes have become YouTube personalities in the last six months and now have a considerable following. Yesterday the Rhodes Bros uploaded a particularly important video. The twins are gay and they had already come out to everyone in their family - except for their Dad who lives in another state. While they didn't want their father to find out via the Internet - this was the way they chose to tell the rest of the World. So they recorded the call to their dad along with their reactions to telling him.

There is a myriad of nonverbals tells during this 8:36 video. Many of these body language signals fit into a class of behaviors known as MAPs (an acronym for Manipulator, Adaptor, Pacifier) - which were mostly facial touching and hand/arm touching. In the context of this video & emotional conversation, most of these MAPs are general anxiety indicators (although very often and certainly several MAPs contained here can be more correlated with more specific emotions).

What is extremely interesting in this video interaction, is that as the emotional tension crescendos, not only do the MAPs of course increase in frequency (as expected), but the frequency and exactitude of their mirroring increases dramatically.

Mirroring is seen when people like each other and are of similar emotional mindsets - so it's not surprising at all that family members and especially twins mirror each other. The Rhodes Bros however mirror each other much more often than is typically seen. The closer they get to the point of telling their father pulls their entire mind-brain-bodies into increasing degrees of synchronicity - so that some moments almost seem choreographed (although they're not).








Note Aaron's (our right) central forehead contraction


Same side near-mirroring

Aaron touches/rubs tip of his nose


Austin almost touches his nose - thus mirroring Aaron from 1/2 second earlier (partial mirroring and slightly delayed)


Strong Mirroring

Both brothers turning away and down


Austin's Central Forehead Contraction
(CFC) - and (together with his mouth configuration) is highly consistent with high sincerity, high empathy and emotional pain


Mirroring head/neck configurations

Each turning away and down


Mirroring very closely with both their head/necks and hands/arms


Same side Mirroring




Just after Aaron (our right) told their Dad that he and Austin are gay

Strong Mirroring


Near perfect mirroring


A second later they simultaneously each reached to rub the opposite eye vs. what they each were touching one second earlier (see above 3:50)

As many may expect, as soon as they told their father they were gay, the frequency and degree of MAPs decreased dramatically (not quite as much with Austin).

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3070: George Zimmerman's Latest Mugshot - Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2394:  Three Brothers from Cleveland  Onil, Pedro and Ariel Castro -  Kidnapping, Innocence, Guilt & Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2901: Sadie doesn't want her brother to grow up - Body Language of Sincere Affection

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2055:  Three Wise Monkeys - Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil - Body Language Interpretation vs. Traditional Symbolism

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

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3061: Jimmy Fallon Blew a Chance to Date Nicole Kidman