Body Language: How Shame Can Be Deceiving

On February 18th, 2010, I did a body language analysis of Tiger Woods, for journalist Jo Piazza.

It’s always an honor to be quoted in the same article as Kevin Hogan and Patti Wood; both are very skilled body language experts, and being blessed with knowing Hogan, I can tell you a better guy you will not meet.

On that day, I was looking at some of the body language assessments that had already become available on the web. One, in particular, gave cause for a double take. One expert, who will remain unnamed, said “…he showed no remorse, no sincerity…his facial expression never changed…”

I thought to myself “did we watch the same interview?” Of course his facial expression changed; in fact, Hogan, felt it was one of the most sincere apologies he’s seen in years. I thought so too.

Yes, it is true that Tiger didn’t show a great deal of facial expression; he was experiencing shame, and shame is the only emotion that doesn’t have a corresponding facial expression. The lack of facial expression results from an unconscious attempt to conceal the fact they are, in fact, feeling shame, even if consciously they desire to make the shame they are feeling known to others.

When shame is involved, it can prohibit the facial expression of all other emotions except anger. During his press conference, we see the emotion of anger breaking through the cloud of shame, in Woods, when he speaks of how others had suggested that his wife had hurt or injured him.

While discussing this, the expressiveness of his voice also changed significantly, and he slightly shook his head “NO” when saying “she never hurt me!”

When you know what to look for, really know what to look for, there are lots and lots of things you’ll see- even, when some would suggest, that there is nothing.
©Copyright 2010-Vincent Harris-All Rights Reserved.

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One Comment on “Body Language: How Shame Can Be Deceiving”

  1. Mark Bowden Says:

    Tiger Woods’ apology and body language – the real truth behind the deception – must read analysis right here

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