Mr. Big is Pissed!

Practical Applications for Nonverbal Intelligence and Spotting Emotions in Humans and Dogs

By David M. Schneer, Ph.D./CEO

2-Minute Read

That’s my friend Mr. Big. He’s angry. His mom walked away from the car—only a few steps, but he didn’t like it. And he let her know. Not with a bark, snarl or growl but rather with a scowl!

See the angry glare below, also demonstrated by my colleague Patryk? They look similar.

In humans, facial micro expressions (quick involuntary muscle movements of emotion) of anger can take a variety of forms, demonstrated by my colleagues, Patryk and Kasia below:

If you don’t see multiple indications of anger—either with the face, eyes, or body—be careful; a lone indicator of anger could be misleading. For exampleactivity with eyelids and eyes could also mean problems on focusing, with concentration, extremely bright light, very low light, or someone with poor eyesightA jutting jaw could simply mean someone is chewing gum. Pressed lips can also sometimes be indications of controlled sadness or stress.

We see the micro expressions of anger in the face-to-face research that we conduct—especially in advertising or new product development when respondents see a concept that frustrates them in some way. When you encounter such expressions of anger, try the following:

  1. Change the topic and talk about something pleasant.
  2. Apologize, and if you are not the source of their anger, ask them why they are mad.
  3. Give the person a topic that requires deep thinking to refocus them.
  4. If you see clenched fists and flared nostrils, remove yourself from the situation.

But if you mess up with your dog, they will let you know. Nonverbally. Like Mr. Big.

Most Communication is Nonverbal. Are you Fluent?