Author Archive for Chris P.

Body Language Of Olympic Figure Skater Ashley Wagner

Body Language Of Olympic Figure Skater Ashley Wagner – A Facial Expression Of Olympic Proportions.
Christopher Philip

Ashley Wagner Photo Body Language Facial Expression

U.S. figure skater Ashley Wagner has made quite the impression over the 2014 Olympics in Sochi Russia with her very dramatic facial expressions.  At the time, Japan’s Mao Asada was leading with the highest score thus far despite the fact that she had fallen during her routine.  As the disappointing scores were revealed to Wagner, she couldn’t hold back her emotions.

Wagner’s eyes and face tell the honest story of her underlying emotions.  Most athletes, and people for that matter, burry their emotions, especially when they deal with defeat.  While intense emotions of grief and the exhilaration of success leak out as a matter of intensity, the more minor expressions of annoyance, especially surrounding the subjective decisions of judges, are usually kept with a tight lip.

However, this photograph of Wagner is unmistakably honest; she isn’t pleased!  It was captured as she viewed her scores for her short figure skating program.  Most evident is her displays of the flexation of the grief muscles, it’s the muscle located in between the eyebrows and universally signals anger and discomfort.  Her eyebrows are also lowered to strengthen the anger subtext.  Her mouth pulls open to signal surprise, while her eyes squint together just a touch indicating disbelief at what she is seeing.  Contempt is also mildly present with slightly flared nostrils.  You can see this in her left nostril the most.  

The animated video clip making the rounds is even more revealing showing five distinct stages as she roils.  First her jaw drops in shock, then her face contorts in anger, she nods in stunned disbelief, turns her head and mouths the word “bulls—t” to the person to her side, then she claps politely.

Crossing Your Arms Reduces Pain: A Possible Neurological Source For Arm Crossing Body Language

Crossing Your Arms Reduces Pain: A Possible Neurological Source For Arm Crossing Body Language
Christopher Philip

Researchers at University College, London have concluded that by simply crossing your arms across the mid-point of your body, pain is significantly reduced by confusing the brain. “Perhaps when we get hurt, we should not only “rub it better” but also cross our arms,” said Dr Giandomenico Iannetti, lead author of the paper from the UCL department of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience.

BodyLanguageProjectCom - Ankle Cross 1The scientists think that the brain confuses the information between the brain’s map – the one for your body and the other for the external space. We usually use our left hand to interact with the left side of our world and the right for our right side, but when we switch the two around, the maps are mismatched and what we get is weakened signals. This results in less pain felt.

The study was done with a laser which produced four milliseconds of pain through a pin prick to the hand. This was pain done without the use of touch. This was then repeated with the arms crossed. The EEG (electroencephalography) measured the electrical brain responses of the subjects and showed that pain was weaker during arm crossing. The subjects also rated the pain as weaker.

“This means that the areas of the brain that contain the map of the right body and the map of right external space are usually activated together, leading to highly effective processing of sensory stimuli. When you cross your arms these maps are not activated together anymore, leading to less effective brain processing of sensory stimuli, including pain, being perceived as weaker.”

Does this provide a neurological source for arm crossing body language? At this point, one could only speculate, but it is fascinating to measure the effect that a specific body position has on felt pain. Perhaps when people cross their arms, they are trying to reduce the amount of pain they are experiencing from the outside world and crossing the body off reduces that sensation.

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