Saturday, February 28, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3117: Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Putin - What Body Language Tells Us (PHOTO)

Boris Nemtsov, shown here shaking hands with Vladimir Putin, was murdered yesterday (shot in the back four times in broad daylight) less than 200 meters from the Kremilin and Red Square. Mr. Nemtsov, - a scientist and statesman, was also a successful politician under Boris Yeltsin. Since 2000, Nemtsov had been an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin. Mr. Nemtsov was in Moscow helping to organize a protest against Mr. Putin's policies regarding Russia's involvement in the Ukraine War.

This image was taken in July of 2000. Some may erroneously describe Putin's facial expression as a partial smile - however Vladimir's "false smile" is harboring a high degree of disgust. Note his considerable mid-face tension - more specifically the flaring of his nostril (only left on is visible), the tightening and narrowing of his upper lip and the primarily lateral-vectoring of his mouth corner (as opposed to upwards as it is with a sincere smile). His chin also displays dimpling.

Look at Putin's lower face in this picture for ten seconds. What emotion do you feel?

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3116: Leonard Nimoy and Disbelief - Body Language of Spock
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3025: Vladimir Putin, Alpha Hand Signals and "The Claw"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3091: Vladimir Putin has Asperger's Syndrome according to Pentagon Report - Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 1889:  Vladimir Putin & Barack Obama at the G-20

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

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3041: Jim Harbaugh Body Language Tutorial

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2208:  President Obama & Mitt Romney in the Oval Office -  Multiple Body Language Tells 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2203:  A Body Language Metric of Intimacy and Affection -  How Do YOU cuddle? 


Friday, February 27, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3116: Leonard Nimoy and Disbelief - Body Language of Spock (PHOTOS)

Today's post is a tribute to Leonard Nimoy. Although best known for his role as Spock in the original Star Trek series, he was also a film director, poet, singer and photographer. Beloved by many and a sort of living metaphor for our attempts at objectivity - as a fictional character with a Human mother and a Vulcan father, he always sought to suppress his emotions.

The image above is a classic facial expression of Spock, often preceding or following the spoken word, "Fascinating". A unilateral raised eyebrow is a highly characteristic nonverbal signal of disbelief. And while this is one of the most common facial configurations of incredulity, it's not the only one. What others can you name?

Thank you Mr. Nimoy. You have the helm.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3115: Giuliana Rancic apologizes to Zendaya Coleman comment made regarding her dreadlocks at the Oscars - that she "smells like patchouli oil and weed" on "Fashion Police" - Is She Sincere?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2556: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Star Trek - Even Great Actors Leak Body Language Tells 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2392:  Zoë Saldaña on Jimmy Kimmel -  Rapport Builders, Alpha Behavior & Dominance Displays 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2683: Alice Eve, Craig Ferguson, Kierkegaard and Free Will, Body Language Tells  

Negotiation Secret No. 67: Incredulous Cluster - Aleksandar Djorovic

Negotiation Secrets No. 335 & 353: Incredulity with Contempt - Amanda Knox Redux 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis  1696:  George Zimmerman's Testimony -  Fear, Incredulity, Regret & Contempt

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3033: Reaction to Grand Jury's Decision regarding Eric Garner's Choke Hold Death 


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3115: Giuliana Rancic apologizes to Zendaya Coleman comment made regarding her dreadlocks at the Oscars - that she "smells like patchouli oil and weed" on "Fashion Police" - Is She Sincere? (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

On Monday night following the Oscars, Giuliana Rancic made a racially disparaging comment regarding Zendaya Coleman's hair on the "Fashion Police" (saying, "... like I feel that she smells like patchouli oil .... or weed ..." - see video below). And although Rancic initially apologized via twitter - it clearly wasn't enough. On Tuesday, she released a video apology which is included above. A partial nonverbal analysis of her apology follows.


".... I'd really like to address something that is weighing very heavy on my heart ...."

Fingers interlaced

She did not touch sternum or chest

This moment has a relatively low sincerity quotient. The primary emotion here is anxiety rather than empathy.


Head leaning forward

As she said, "....something I said last night did cross the line ...."

This forward head leaning is indicative of and projects a patronizing emotional tone.

Those who have this head configuration are "talking down" (With what other emotion is this head position common?).


Pseudo-prayer hand-chop

Outside the context of religion or prayer and in some regions in Asia, this is a very patronizing gesture.

This patronizing emotion is amplified by several episodes of extended eyelid closure.


Palms-up - a much more sincere gesture and indicating an asking rather than telling/preaching

 " .... It's not my intent that matters, it's the result ...."

(She is mistaken here, for both intent and result both matter. If in the beginning she had a purer, empathy-driven intent, she would not have insulted Zendaya and so many others. Ms. Rancic is letting herself off the hook too easily here - her wording blaming it somewhat on Zendaya's interpretation.)

Note also more prolonged eyelid closure is still prevalent (more distancing and patronizing) - so this is mixed-message moment and not purely sincere.


Vertical hand chop

This is insincere and has far too much alpha emotion for the context of an apology. 


More pseudo-praying with hand-chopping

Note also throughout this video Ms. Rancic uses exaggerated mouth movements when she is speaking. This is indicative of an alpha personality when, in their mind, they're addressing subordinates (betas). Once again, this is not indicative of empathy or sincerity. 



Elevated CFC (Central Forehead Contracted) - more easily appreciated via the dynamic context of the video.

This occurs as she says, ".... I want to say to Zendaya and anyone else out there that I have hurt ..." In this moment Ms. Rancic is sincere and it is the most sincere moment of the video.


While Ms. Rancic did apologize here, on camera, and shortly after her infraction (the next day after a tweet apology missed the mark) - and (very importantly) she DID NOT read her apology (a prepared, read apology is almost never sincere) - SHE DID REFER TO NOTES - (most probably a bullet point type document) to which she kept referring (and is seen doing here). This still is too scripted and significantly detracts from any sincerity.


Palms-up illustrator

This is one of her more sincere moments

This occurs when she says, ".... this incident has taught me to be a lot more aware of clichés and stereotypes - how much damage they can do ..."

What else helps to convey sincerity in this moment?

While there are some moments of empathy here, they were deficient in both frequency and amplitude. Moreover there was too much alpha emotion projected with an excessive preachy feel for a sincere apology. Ms. Rancic should absolutely NOT have used notes here despite what her lawyers advised (even if she didn't have an advantage of recording it, thus the chance for re-dos).

Overall Ms. Rancic gets a B- grade for the sincerity of this apology.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3114: Wheel of Musical Impressions with Christina Aguilera - Pitch Perfect Cher, Britney Spears & Shakira on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3092: Brian Williams' Apology - Was He Sincere? - Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2441:  Paula Deen's Apology - What Does Her Body Language Say?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3031: Eric Garner's Widow - "Hell No!" - Rejecting the Apology from the Police Officer Who Killed (Choked) Her Husband

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2863: Gary Oldman's Apology on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" - Sincere or Insincere?

Nonverbal Communication Quiz-Analysis No. 2902: How Sincere was Ray Rice's Apology? 


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3114: Wheel of Musical Impressions with Christina Aguilera - Pitch Perfect Cher, Britney Spears & Shakira on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

If you've not yet watched this very viral video, Wheel of Musical Impressions with Christina Aguilera - on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon - you've really got to! She's spot on & pitch perfect singing like Cher, Britney Spears & Shakira. She's spooky-good. Of course, there is some history between Aguilera and Spears, so Britney must really be grinding her teeth with this one.

Besides the hilariousness and entertainment value - there's also some very illustrative body language exampled here. This is only a partial nonverbal analysis - but see if you can spot some other signals .....


Aguilera displays a partially formed
Fear Mouth


Christina shows us a Seating Adjusting maneuver (she does this multiple times).

This signals that Ms. Aguilera is experiencing some anxiety and more specifically "Dialing up her alpha" qualities.


Inward Lip Roll (ILR)

She's attempting to suppress an inward emotional crescendo and any corresponding outward expression of her emotion (here anxiety).


Unilateral Fear-Mouth
(Christina's right side)

Eyes of Fear
Eyelids open wider than baseline
(Left eye more so)


Nose Rub

"I can't believe I did that!" (Form of self-disbelief and even self- deprecation), thus here is a manifestation of the specific anxiety associated with emotional processing. Her intellect knows what just happened, however Ms. Aguilera's emotional brain hasn't yet fully comprehended it.


Scratching forehead

Anxiety indicator - yet more specifically we can say that this is "honest anxiety display".


A Second Nose Touch/Rub

Continued Emotional Processing (similar to image at 0:59)


Claw Hand with Straight Arm

In this nonverbal cluster-context, the claw hand with the accompanying straight arm (unbent elbow) indicate High Anxiety

(What does "The Claw" mean when it is palms down? How about with the elbow flexed?)


Jimmy Fallon displays a poor "false-surprise" face 

This "game" was completely rigged.


Hair Adjust
(Truncated Hair Adjust Behind Ear or truncated HABE)

Anxiety + Dialing Up Alpha Qualities

She's calling on her psyche to "Step it up her game".

Note that Jimmy is trying to keep himself from laughing too hard. What is this called? What thought-emotion does it signal?


Facial Touch (Cheek Scratch)


There is a nonverbal here which indicates Ms. Aguilera knew that Britney's name would come up - can you spot it? (Hint: watch video several times during this segment)


Aguilera Touching her Temple with her Eyes Closed - indicating significantly Focused-Thought.


Christina is touching/rubbing the back of her neck/hair. Together with the configuration of her elbow - what does this body language cluster context indicate?

What an amazing voice and an uncanny ability to duplicate others' voices!

Although she is a very seasoned performer, with which singer-impression was Christina Aguilera most emotionally-comfortable? Who was she most nervous imitating?

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3112: John Travolta Chin Holding and Face Touching Idina Menzel at the Oscars - What Makes it Extra-Creepy

Nonverbal Analysis No. 1820: What Causes David Beckham's Greater Anxiety - Barack Obama Teasing Him About His Age or His Underwear?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2281:  Inaugural Luncheon Anxiety - Barack Obama's Body Language  Michelle's Mirroring

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2702: Barack Obama - Anxiety and Non-engagement; Body Language Signal

Nonverbal Communication Secret No. 1439:  Central Forehead Contraction & Inward Lip Roll  Devon Davis & April Davis

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3078: Tom Brady, Deflategate, Deception and Body Language 

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

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No.2424:  Giada De Laurentiis on Conan O'Brien  Beautiful Teeth but Insincere Smiles and  Some Body Language Signals of Waning Love


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3112: John Travolta Chin Holding and Face Touching Idina Menzel at the Oscars - What Makes it Extra-Creepy (PHOTOS)

John Travolta was given a chance at the Oscars to redeem himself for his last year's mispronunciation of Idina Menzel's name. Yet this time he gave everyone the creeps. Indeed, if this video isn't difficult to watch - you have an empathy deficit (no exaggeration). What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis.

Note angle of Idina Menzel's back vs. Travolta's. Also compare their necks - Idina's neck has to be pretty much straight up because of the considerable angle of her back - yet Travolta's head/neck is tilted towards her. Menzel feels invaded and is doing a fairly good job at disguising it (yet all her smiles are feigned) - however for those who know what to look for, her body language can be seen sending beacons of discomfort.

Travolta does not want to let her go - he holds on to her, repeatedly pulling Ms. Menzel close.

And Travolta continues ....

This is so very uncomfortable to watch. Touching another person in such a public context when there is no close relationship. 

Idina Menzel turns away from Travolta - both because of the grand stage and context of the Academy Awards, the camera, etc. - but also because she is emotionally uncomfortable. 

Travolta's hand has also moved up to her cheek and temple region. This is very intimate. Touching in this area is reserved for only those with whom we have affection and love.

Major. Red. Flag.

Menzel continues to look towards the audience, yet Travolta's faux pas continue ...

Travolta then reaches for Idina's chin again to manually rotate it back to HIM - (e.g. "don't look at the audience and the hundreds of millions of viewers, look at ME!)

Chin Holding - Part Deux 

Idina turns away, yet Travolta still holds on ...

Travolta finally lets go of Idina's chin
(this time holding it for 7 seconds)

He still feels the need to touch Ms. Menzel's upper arm - while Idina's fingers are interlaced wtih anxiety.

Now Travolta's hand has moved to Idina's lower back (perhaps even her upper butt).

Face touching - and particularly chin-holding as Travolta did here, when there is no close and loving relationship and basis for true affection - is three (or more) standard deviations removed from normal behavior. These are varieties of false-intimacy. Outside the context of sincere affection, chin and face holding indicates an objectification and even a de-humanizing emotional mindset. Search your memory - such nonverbal signs have even been used in film to underscore evil characters and their malicious motives. Creepy.
See also:

Nonverbal Communication No. 3110: Scarlett Johansson gets invaded by John Travolta - An Awkward Moment from the 2015 Oscars - Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3111: Dakota Johnson rips into her Mom, Melanie Griffith at Oscars

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2268:  Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Kathryn Bigelow & Jessica Chastain - Body Language at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2314:  Naomi Watts Pre-Oscar Interview and her  Body Language of the "Jaw Confessional" and the Sincerity Quotient

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

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret No. 1212:  Invading Barack Obama's Personal Space  

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2203:  A Body Language Metric of Intimacy and Affection -  How Do YOU cuddle?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2831: "Walking Contest", Anxiety, Mirroring and False Intimacy


Monday, February 23, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3111: Dakota Johnson rips into her Mom, Melanie Griffith at Oscars (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

An interesting and awkward family moment was on display last night at the Oscars. Dakota Johnson took her mother to the Academy Awards. Melanie Griffith, an actor in her own right, to everyone's surprise had not yet seen her daughter's first starring role. What follows is a partial body language analysis.

Just as Melanie is asked if she has seen "Fifty Shades of Grey" - Dakota begins to display an "Inward Lip Roll" (ILR). She knows what her mom's answer is going to be and the inward lip roll is (subconsciously) partially suppressing her negative emotions - as well as a more dramatic facial expression (0:36).

A close up of the ILR as it wanes (0:37).


Dakota is pleading to her mother with mild fear face and elevated central forehead contraction (CFC). This one expression very commonly used when trying to engender empathy in another.

Melanie is tight-lipped, nonverbally projecting, "I don't want to say it ...."


As her elevated CFC persists,
Dakota's mid-face is projecting a Rationalization Rapport Empathy Expression (R2E2) - she's verbally and nonverbally asking her mother to agree with her - at least here, on the red carpet (e.g., Pleeeease!? Mom!)

Melanie is staring - her upper eyelids elevated higher than baseline and with a tight-lipped (now beginning to down-turn) false smile persisting

1:01- 1:02

As Dakota says, "Alright! You don't have to see it [inaudible]" - she displays a Subtle Eye Roll - which projects both her Contempt & Dismissive feelings.

Meanwhile Melanie's mouth is configured in a Tight-Lipped False-Smile while her mid-face is also manifesting Disgust.


Dakota then Melanie each then turn their heads (and Dakota her back) away from each other - signaling dissociating, distancing, disliking and disagreeing emotional tones.


Dakota is displaying a forward lip purse when her mother says, "If she tells me to see it, I will go see it."

Lip pursing, in this cluster-context, is a strong nonverbal signal of clandestine disagreement. Dakota does not at all believe her mother will watch her break-out movie. Dakota is also projecting disgust.

Johnson's partial eyelid closure here is an amplifier of her both her disbelief and disgust.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication No. 3110: Scarlett Johansson gets kissed and invaded by John Travolta - An Awkward Moment from the 2015 Oscars

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3102: Movie Portrayal of "Christian Grey" is a Sociopath or Worse

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. 3056: Jeb Bush Interview - 14 Dec. 2014 - Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3091: Vladimir Putin has Asperger's Syndrome according to Pentagon Report

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2468:  Princess Kate, Prince William & a New Baby Boy -  Body Language, Rapport & Saving Face

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

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3064: Pastor Recounts Punching a Child in the Chest


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Nonverbal Communication No. 3110: Scarlett Johansson gets invaded by John Travolta - An Awkward Moment from the 2015 Oscars - Body Language Tells (PHOTOS)

John Travolta provided a very awkward moment at the 2015 Oscars.

From a body language perspective there were two huge faux pas by the two-time best actor nominee when he encountered Scarlett Johansson.

Never approach a person from behind. In all but very few scenarios, such a maneuver is rarely endearing and even those who love us other will often become rapidly unnerved. Of course if there is no true affection, such an action is even more offensive.

Not only does he spring a sneak-attack, Travolta also touches Johansson on her mid abdomen. This is of course an intimate area for which Travolta had no invitation - and particularly true in such a public setting as the Academy Awards and when Scarlett recently had her first child.

Johansson's face reveals more than a little bit of anger here. Can you spot its subtle signs?

Those who are skilled and have a good amount of mindfulness can sometimes not react or at least slow down with their response with their arms or hands for a few moments in these and similar social situations. It's very difficult to do though. Such adept arm and hand control in turn tends to engender more control of the rest of the body. Yet even the untrained eye can look at Scarlett Johansson in these photos and feel their back stiffen along with hers.

Because of the rapidity and clandestine nature of Travolta's sneaky kiss & semi-embrace, Johansson did not really have much time to turn her head. Yet she could have responded more (her stomach was touched first providing a warning). A "Side-Eye" is telling. We do not look directly at someone who we don't respect, don't believe or we dislike.

Notice Johansson's head is also tilted away from Travolta. This subtle signal is a definite distancing phenomenon and is often seen in couples months or years prior to a break-up or divorce.

If you look carefully, you can also see Scarlett's lips and jaw shifting away from Travolta.

Given the context, John Travolta's action tends to strongly suggest narcissism (Surprise).

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3109: Why Chris Christie Will Never Win The White House in 2016 (or the Republican Nomination) - Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 1779:  Girl with a Pear Earring, Johannes Vermeer, Scarlett Johansson & Emotional Dissonance - Pain & Concern mixed with Flirting, Sexuality & Attractiveness

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3105: Joe Biden, Ashton Carter & Stephanie Carter - Vice President Encroaches into New Defense Secretary's Wife's Intimate Space

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. 2563: President Obama's Subtle Anger - Body Language of Government Shutdown & the Debt Ceiling

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2894: Maria Kirilenko, Alex Ovechkin and Subtle Body Language of ....

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

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3068: John Boehner Kissing Nancy Pelosi

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3109: Why Chris Christie Will Never Win The White House in 2016 (or the Republican Nomination) - Body Language Tells (PHOTOS)

Bridgegate and other missteps aside, Chris Christie will never win the 2016 republican nomination, let alone the White House. While many admire his "straight talk" approach - others will sight his outbursts and temper. He has another huge interpersonal hurdle though which he has yet to clear. As with the vast majority of politicians, Christie is unaware of just how much he is lacking when it comes to emotionally connecting with the electorate. And he seems to be in a downhill slide ....

Regardless of party or political office, of course a politician will continually run up against many opposing points of view and Governor Christie surly has his share. However even when Mr. Christie is on his best behavior and his words are fairly diplomatic, his body language screams the opposite - and the audience feels it. Only those who already staunchly support a candidate will stand behind him with such dramatic disparities - for they are already blind and thus truly believe the emperor is wearing clothes. Such tone-deaf leaders will never capture the crucial middle third of the voters.

In the single moment this image was captured (and very typical of the New Jersey Governor), Chris Christie's body language projects three negative emotions:

A. Disbelief
B. Contempt
C. Disengagement

He's destroying rapport - not building it. He might as well be saying, "I can't stand you, I don't believe a word you're saying and you don't know what the *#@! you're talking about! I've already made up my mind and I'm barely tolerating being here."

Mr. Christie still has yet to learn that he can still stick be sincere and win over some of his audience at the same time.

Do you know the specific nonverbal signals in this photo indicating each of these thought-emotions? How adept are you at recognizing these signs in others? How self-aware are you in projecting them?

People don't vote with logic. They vote with their emotions. If a candidate isn't likeable - particularly during moments of disagreement, he or she will only win if the opposition is weak - and remember, this is a Presidential election. So unless Mr. Christie significantly improves his rapport building skills - nonverbal and otherwise - history will record his high water mark will be on the Jersey Shore and not the Potomac.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3108: Kim Jong-un Haircut & mirroring his Deceased Dad - Kim Jong-il

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2597: Chris Christie's Body Language Tell Regarding Obamacare

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2612: Chris Christie 'Calls a Spade a Spade' (Well … Almost) - Body Language of the 2016 Republican Presidential Hopeful

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2999: Chris Christie to James Keady "Sit Down and Shut Up" - Body Language Congruent with .... 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2137:  Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama - First Presidential Debate -  Barack's Bad Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2164:  Mitt Romney's Disgust Display regarding  President Obama's Relationship with Putin and Russia -  ".... I'll give you more flexibility after the election ...."

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2948: Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp's father - Same Body Language Simultaneously