Body Language In International Politics

January 29, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

We’ve previously covered the use of body language analysis in international diplomacy. The Economist had an article providing more details about how it worked:

  • Body language experts say that when somebody is hiding something, the way they smoke, check their watch, and even the distance they stand away from shop windows, change.
  • Analysts also look for “micro-expressions” – things that last just 1/25th of a second but reveal concealed emotions.
  • Context is important. One expert notes that the body language of a suicide bomber is similar to that of somebody who may have left their stove on at home.
  • The analysis can be painstaking. 30 minutes of video requires 20 hours of analysis.
  • It is also expensive. The Pentagon spends $300,000 a year analyzing the body language of world leaders.
  • When it works, it’s worth it. In 1979 one expert determined that Saddam Hussein’s body language indicated that he hated Iran more than Israel. Less than a year later the Iraqi leader invaded Iran.

Read other insights, how Putin’s body language has changed in recent times, and more over here.

Source: The Economist