Monday, April 6, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3149: Edward Snowden on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Government Surveillance (HBO) - Body Language (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

John Oliver was once again brilliant, entertaining and probing - and this interview of Edward Snowden in Moscow (on Last Week Tonight) is arguably his most important to date.

From a body language perspective, Edward Snowden is not known for having a poker face, as two of the moments below illustrate.


This captures a second just after John Oliver shows Mr. Snowden a video of an American "randomly" interviewed on the street - who identified Snowden as someone who, "... sold some information to people ..."

Snowden nonverbally responded with  (among other signals) elevating his entire forehead, raising both eyebrows, a prolonged bilateral eyelid closure, looking downwards with both a sideways-tilted and forward-leaning head/neck, and a bilateral eye rub. This nonverbal cluster of signals indicates that Mr. Snowden is in disbelief (part of his psyche is saying "I can't believe she thinks that!"). His intellect knows what he just heard, yet Snowden's emotional brain is still processing this disconnect.


Unilateral Eyebrow Elevation

This is another classic nonverbal signal of disbelief in response to one more false-characterization of Mr. Snowden, " .... Ah - Edward Snowden revealed a lot of documents through WikiLeaks ...." (Thus also implying he was Julian Assange).

Snowden is incredulous that someone would confuse him with Julian Assange, Assange's actions or WikiLeaks.


Look back one second, we can see on Oliver's computer screen, the same woman noted above who falsely assigned Snowden with WikiLeaks - pulling her eyebrows together and downwards, tilting her head, turning it slightly and all the while is looking up to her left (if she's right-handed, her upper left gaze strongly suggests [although it's not definitive for] her attempting to visually recalling a memory - although here of course inaccurately). Her nonverbal shift as well as her drawing out of and change in tone of the words (thus a body language-paralanguage congruency) " ... through WikiLeaks ..." tells us she is questioning herself.

Is Snowden telling the truth or lying about the various programs of US Government surveillance? Specifically, what are his body language signals telling you?

 See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3148: Tidal's (Re)Launch - Jay Z, Kanye West, Deadmau5 & Madonna - Four Different Standing Configurations - Four Different Thought-Emotions

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2655: Edward Snowden's Alternative Christmas Message

Nonverbal Communication Analysis 2832: Is Edward Snowden Telling the Truth? - Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2647: Vladimir Putin regarding Edward Snowden, What Does the Russian Leader Think?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2231: A Common Facial Expression of Mass Killers - Using Body Language as a Threat Assessment Tool