Saturday, October 17, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3343: Michigan State vs. Michigan, Football and Body Language (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Earlier today, Michigan was poised for a minor upset of their in-state rivals Michigan State - when the Wolverine's punter, Blake O’Neill dropped the snap. The ball landed in the hands of Spartans safety Jalen Watts-Jackson, who ran it in for a touchdown on the last play of the game - giving Michigan State the victory.

The woman in the center of the above photo (2:33 in video) is a Michigan fan who's displaying a classic nonverbal signal seconds after the game ended. Although not limited to athletics, within the culture of the sporting world (regardless of the country), this "Hands-on-Head" configuration is very common (in players, fans and sometimes even coaches/managers/owners). It indicates either a significant missed opportunity or, more typically, a loss. In addition it signals emotional processing - for although the intellectual brain knows what has just transpired, the emotional mind has yet to fully adapt to this sudden change.

It's no coincidence that this hands-on-head nonverbal is similar/identical to how captured soldiers are made to stand once they're captured. While in most body language scenarios where the hands/arms are raised are ones with a positive meaning, this is a notable exception.

It's also important to notice this woman's mouth. It's configured in a "slack-jawed" manner - which indicates psychological shock. It shares some similarities with the mouth of sincere surprise (yet it's opened wider horizontally while a surprise mouth typically opens wider vertically). The vast majority of the time, a slack-jawed mouth also displays no teeth. The lips are loose and plump with mild protrusion.

Coaches take heed - for players who adopt this pose on the field or on the sidelines have already psychologically given-up. You've already lost.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3342: Barack Obama regarding whether or not Joe Biden will Run for President

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3295: Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Football and Predicting Violent Behavior

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. 2884: Mario Götze, Germany, the 2014 World Cup final, and the Body Language of Fiero

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3241: Trump - a Hyper-Alpha Donald vs. a Kinder, Gentler Version - Body Language and Likability

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3143: Jay Z's "Tidal" Music Service - An Alpha Dominant Display 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3275: Carly Fiorina, The Republican Debate and Likability (or not)