Friday, September 4, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3299: Kim Davis, Contempt-of-Court, Same-Sex Marriages and Body Language (PHOTOS)

Yesterday Kim Davis was jailed for contempt of court. As the Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk - she's an elected government official. One of her duties is to issue marriage licenses. On 26 June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court (Obergefell v. Hodges) legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country - yet Ms. Davis refused to issue marriage licenses. She then filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court seeking to put the court's order on hold while she sought an appeal. After the Supreme Court denied her application, Ms. Davis continued to deny the marriage licenses. When asked under whose authority she was acting, she responded, "Under God's authority".

The above image of Kim Davis is instructive from a body language point-of-view - particularly because she's projecting emotional dissonance.

Davis's face is primarily signaling disgust. She also has a component of contempt - and although these two emotions are related, her contempt is secondary. Note the subtleties of her mid-facial tension - particularly below the nose and above her upper lip. Her nostrils are also flared. What is the third emotion she is feeling? What does the configuration of her mouth tell you?

Don't interpret her interlaced fingers in isolation - rather look at the whole person and the whole moment. In this context, her fingers tell us she is frustrated and defensive. Tighter variations of this hand nonverbal indicate an element of anger. This also tells us that she feels she is the alpha personality in the room. She believes everyone else present is beta to her alpha.

Another valuable component to this nonverbal cluster is Ms. Davis's use of the chair as a MAP surrogate (Manipulator, Adaptor, Pacifier). Despite the fact that there is a counter between herself and others with whom she's disagreeing - she still feels the need for another barrier to insulate and protect her.

A reminder: This website serves as an objective reference source for the science and art of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc. are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts – not to advance any political, religious or other agenda.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3298: Aylan Kurdi, a three year-old Syrian refugee drowns and the image of his body moves the World - a Body Language Empathy Self-Assessment

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2312:  Bruce Willis' Body Language -  Contempt vs. Suppressed Smile vs.  Pseudo Smile vs. Sincere Smile

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3204: "Inside Out" Movie Clip - Mostly Correct, but some Wrong Expressions for Emotion-Characters 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3262: Donald Trump, Breast Pumping and Donald's "That's Disgusting" 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3131: Kim Jong-un, his Uncle Jang Song-thaek and a Warning sign of Potential Violence