Wednesday, October 8, 2008

ABC's Ross: His Body Language Tells the Story

Brian Ross is a big man in the big media, but does he really believe he's as hot as he wants people to think? Allan and Barbara Pease, in The Definitive Book of Body Language (Bantam, 2004), offer some insights about why the machine gun man from ABC always crosses his arms over his chest:

"Hiding behind a barrier is a normal response we learn at an early age to protect ourselves. As children, we hid behind solid objects such as tables, chairs, furniture, and mother's skirt . . . . As we grew older, this hiding behavior became more sophisticated and by the age of six, when it was unacceptable behavior to hide behind solid objects, we learned to fold our arms tightly across our chests whenever a threatening situation arose . . . .

"By folding one or both arms across the chest, a barrier is formed that is an unconscious attempt to block out what we perceive as a threat or undesirable circumstances. . . . when a person has a nervous, negative, or defensive attitude, it's very likely he will fold his arms firmly on his chest, showing that he feels threatened. . . .

"When you fold your arms your credibility dramatically reduces."

"Crossed-Arms-on-Chest is universal and is decoded with the same defensive or negative meaning almost everywhere. It is comonly seen . . . anywhere that people feel uncertain or insecure." (pp. 90-93)

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