Airport Security, The Body Language of New Pat Downs and Scanning

I love my country. I wanted to make sure I said that first as I am about to analyze the nonverbal factors that may be causing passengers to have trouble with the new scanning and pat down procedures at the airport.

In the last two weeks I have gone through the new screening procedures eight times in five different cities, Atlanta, Cincinnati, San Antonio, Ft. Lauderdale, and Tyler Texas. I went through the scanner each time and oddly, each time I was patted down, extensively. Apparently, little blonds with glasses fit the terrorist profile. The new security checks are more than a little intrusive. In fact, if they did it any better they would have to buy me dinner first. However, I am certainly willing to do it, to insure we are secure while flying. There are nonverbal issues with the procedure. We can talk about “personal freedoms and profiling but truly we just don't like our personal space invaded. Americans sense of self, their personal space, is external rather than internal. In the US and most of North America we feel that our body, our space, does not end at the external body. It does not stop at skin and hair, but extends out from the body a good sixteen inches or more. When we are in any crowd, and especially long lines like the security at Airports like Atlanta Hartsfield or Chicago O'Hara we already have to be inside the body bubble wall of dozens of people so we may be fearful, or defensive before we even get to the main check point. Our intimate body bubble is bigger in front than it is in back and smaller around our feet. So people can stand closer to us when they are behind us queuing in line than when they are facing us. This kind of queuing is unique because we know we may already be stressed about traveling, we know we are going to be evaluated and go through the stress of mini checks and handing over our personal artifacts to the conveyor belt where it may be lost or evaluated and taking off our shoes and feeling quite vulnerable as bare or sock footed we gingerly step toward strangers in uniforms.

To be scanned, you lift up your arms above your head and hold them with palms flat out. This again makes you feel extremely vulnerable to attack. All your body windows are exposed. Anyone can hurt your very easily when you're in this position. In that same vulnerable moment you know there is someone looking at your body on a screen even more exposed. Then there is a pat down where you stand in similar position and have someone not just invade your space but touch you. It is all very stressful. The word stress that evolved from Latin word "districtia" means "to draw or pull apart." The Romans even used the term to describe "a being torn asunder." Most of us who have been through a busy airport's security check can probably relate to this description.

0—18 inches. The "Intimate Zone" we normally reserve for friends and family. It’s what I call “kissy face” distance. We also allow others to encroach this zone in a few other situations; contact sports, dancing and in greeting and goodbyes. In North American culture this space is almost like an extension of your body. Standing 18 inches from someone you can only see their face their hands and feet are out of vision range. If you get closer than 18 inches everything blurs. This makes you vulnerable to attack. At this distance. you will be able to smell and touch the other person and they can smell and touch you. So at this distance you want to make sure you have used your deodorant and brushed your teeth. This distance is used for sexual contact,comforting someone or attack. Whenever you perceive a threat, imminent or imagined, your limbic system immediately responds via your autonomic nervous system. Your adrenal glands release adrenaline (also known as epinephrine) and other hormones that increase breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. This moves more oxygen-rich blood faster to the brain and to the muscles needed for fighting or fleeing. Adrenaline causes a rapid release of glucose and fatty acids into your bloodstream. Also,your senses become keener and your memory sharper. So the event of going through security is heightening your perception. Other hormones shut down functions unnecessary during the emergency. For example, the immune system goes on hold. That's why chronic stress increases your chances of getting sick. With your mind and body in this temporary state of metabolic overdrive, you are now prepared to respond to a life-threatening situation and or a security check. No wonder we resent it. After you go through a perceived danger your body would typically try to return to normal, but once your stress response is activated the system wisely keeps you in a state of readiness for the next saber tooth tiger, or gets you ready to get to your gate, get on the plane and sit next to a stranger for several hours.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at

Posted by Patti Wood MA CSP Corporate Speaker and Trainer

OchoCinco and Owens Making Comments About Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromarti and Body Language Read - Cocky or Ready to Play?

This is a body language read of OchoCinco and Owens on a show on the Versus Network.
I usually just report on the body language and don't editorialize but in this case these players were putting other players down and thinking they were cool. I was not impressed. I actually like the rowdy, loud team members who shout and jump up with raised arms and high fives saying, “We are going to win!” “We are going to pulverize them!” Athletes do that to get their limbic brain pumped with adrenaline and other hormones so blood goes to their brain and limbs so they can move and “fight.” Glucose gives them intense focus. That is fun! That energy is contagious and gets the fans fired up.

OchoCinco and Owens will be facing the New York Jets on Thursday night in a nationally televised game and they will be going up against Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, two of the best quarterbacks in the game. Revis and Cromartie will be charged with the responsibility of shutting down OchoCinco and Owens, which leads to this exchange in the video.

Questions about the overall exchange and demeanor of the two:

Are they dismissive? Is it in fun? What is the overall tone and tenor? What can you tell us about their delivery that would give some insight into their intentions throughout their delivery? Are they uncomfortable? Cocky? Joking? Self-assured?

The guys were reading their pre-written lines off a teleprompter with a delivery that was stiff and awkward rather than alpha cool dude energetic. Even when OchoCinco used the bullhorn, his body (head, shoulders posture) didn’t go up with enthusiasm nor did his paralanguage, (voice tone, volume, speaking rate) show he was energized. They appeared so cool with the relaxed shoulders, torsos/stomachs, relaxed back and low energy, slow vocal delivery by both guys they didn’t even have to work hard or give it their all in this piece.

Why do they choose to call Revis and Cromartie “Ren & Stimpy?" Does that make it obviously a humorous statement or is that a slight?

The nonverbal delivery, I'm sure, was planned as a comic put down. If they wanted it to be a powerful put down it would have been given spontaneously with a strong stare and vocal emphasis.

How would an athlete who has these statements directed at him react?

As a media coach I would tell Revis and Cromartie not to be worried. Chad OchoCinco (Johnson) and Terrelle Owens are over confident. If Revis and Cromartie are questioned directly by the media about the "Ren & Stimpy," I might suggest a comment such as “Let’s let go of thoughts of cartoon cats and dogs. Let's be great sportsmen and play great football for all our great fans.”

How about carrying over onto the field, what is the impact? If they are joking in their comments, would that mean that they are taking them lightly? If they’re serious and putting them down, does that mean that they might be prone to be too cocky?

It is clear from all this planned buffoonery and their poor delivery of it that they think they are too cool for school.

Final question, number six I know. Can you give me a three sentence intro about you? I’d like to give you a solid plug and while my editor is anti-plugs, we need to do our best here to get you out there, right? Patti Wood MA, CSP in a media couch, who has been researching, reading and speaking on body language since 1982. Author of “Success Signals –Understanding Body Language.

Okay, and here is a bit of background on OchoCinco from a story I did on him a few weeks ago:

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at

Capri Anderson's Interview About Charlie Sheen on Good Morning America

Is Capri lying or being deceptive? Is Capri telling the truth about what Charlie Sheen did?
I read Capri's body language in the video for AOL PopEater to answer those questions.
Her choice to go to Charlie Sheen’s room, then sue him for attacking her may have questionable motivations. I think she is telling the truth about what Sheen did, but not being honest when she infers how horrible it was to her.
Her posture is extremely demure. Her hands are clasped in her lap, she tilts her head in a submissive way, her upper body is pulled back and down slouched slightly in the chair. Her legs are bent to the side and pressed together protecting her lower torso. Because she stays in this posture it seems a bit staged.
She shrugged in a show of dissonance and uncertainty as she said “It was hard to say, being that it was the first time I was with him, if that was normal of his behavior.” Her voice on the word “Normal” went up with uncertainty and she smirked after she said the word normal. We smirk when we say one thing but feel something else. She clearly didn’t think his behavior was normal but if the behavior was extremely offensive to her she should have not been conflicted. She as a victim is likely shy though her porn star status would indicate a lack of confidence, but she shouldn’t be conflicted.
As she said, “He seemed like a very egotistical guy her mouth went into a pursed sour taste cue that showed her sincere distaste for him.
When she said she didn’t want to share the racial slurs, “…because they were that vulgar” she oddly looked up to the right. If she is right handed and I think she is, as she sweeps her bangs with her right hand a moment later, this would mean she was constructing that thought rather than remembering that the racial slurs were vulgar. I think she is telling the truth that he made the comments but she is pretending that the slurs were that vulgar to her.
We then get to most interesting part of the interview. As she says,
“He put his hands around my neck. “Her voice really does break on the word, “Hands.”
She does a tongue thrust, sucks in her lips then thrusts her tongue again as she recalls this. Looking down to the right (NLP) are to right handed peoples kinesthetic, tactile l feelings. This shows she is recalling true events but the tongue thrusts show her passive aggressiveness. She is telling the truth about what he did, but I think she was angry and much feistier when it happened than she is saying with her words.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at

Patti is a Coach for Media Interviews

Last week I spoke on body language and establishing credibility when scrutinized by the media and detecting deception in others. The program was sponsored by NASDAQ. The members of the organization give announcements about their company's fiscal health directly to prospective investors and Wall Street contacts. They also give media interviews concerning their company and or they coach the person in the organization that will be speaking or be interviewed.

The client was interested in the fact that I, as a body language expert, give several media interviews each week and have been a corporate spokesperson for many products. Those experiences coupled with my research and background in nonverbal communication and long history of consulting with large corporations, give me the experience to speak on how to give an effective presentation and coach on media interviews. I also coach one on one.
Check out my Media Bio at the link below.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at

Obama Runs the Show According to Patti

WASHINGTON - President Obama was a cool customer Thursday during a high-stakes powwow with Chinese Premier Hu Jintao in South Korea.

The leaders' 1-hour-and-20-minute summit focused on currency rifts, human rights and the rogue regime in North Korea. More so than the words, however, it was the body language that showed Obama running the showdown with the Red leader.Here's how Patti Wood, author of "Success Signals: Body Language in Business," saw it:Obama: "President Obama is in a very relaxed body position and a less defensive body posture. That's the best indication that this can be a positive communication for the President."I'd say overall he has the upper hand."Hu: "Hu Jintao is defensive. That's the defensive posture with his arms clutched and his legs spread."His arm over the side is protecting himself from Obama."

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at

What Does His Hug Reveal, The Meaning of Hugs

Secrets His Hug Reveals The way your guy holds you close is tightly tied to his feelings for you. Use our tips to unlock the meaning behind his embrace. By Molly Triffin
Emmet Malmström

The Sneak Attack
He comes up behind you and puts his arms around your chest.

Even if he hasn't said the words yet, a guy who grabs you like this is in love. He's blanketing your body with his, your feet are intertwined, you're leaning into him.… There's a real sense of oneness here. "By covering your back, he's conveying that he wants to shelter you," says body-language expert Patti Wood, author of Success Signals. "He's also flexing his masculinity — this displays his strength and dominance."

The one exception is if your man almost always hugs you from the back. "That might mean he craves a closer connection but thinks you're unavailable," says Christopher Blazina, PhD, author of The Secret Lives of Men. "He avoids hugging face-to-face because he's worried you're not into him."

The Rub
He gently strokes your back while holding you.

This affectionate gesture signifies that your guy cares deeply about you. "The back is a very vulnerable part of the body," Wood says. "You can't see your back, so being touched there can be startling." Softly rubbing you on such an exposed zone shows that he wants to nurture and protect you. But don't be surprised if his tender caresses soon turn into heavy petting. "Because rubbing has a sexual rhythm, this type of touch can turn him on," Blazina notes.

It's also possible that your man is upset and needs comforting (even if he doesn't verbally fess up to feeling sad). "Having one's back caressed is a soothing touch that people often instinctively crave when they're down," says Janine Driver, president of the Body Language Institute. "A man might rub your back because, unconsciously, that's what he's desiring." If you think he seems a bit off, give him plenty of TLC and ask him if everything's okay.

The Pat
He thumps your upper back during an embrace.

Okay, this hug is loaded. Let's start with the worst-case scenario: He's not into you. "This is how men hug their buddies; it's not romantic at all," Blazina says. "When a guy frequently embraces you like this, it means the relationship's not growing." For example, say your man or crush gives you this half-assed hug when you're out at a bar. He might be doing it to show other people that he is not fully committed to you and is still on the market. Should he dole out The Pat when you're alone, he is probably not feeling a spark anymore or is mad at you.

Wait — don't freak out yet! According to Blazina, if The Pat only happens once in a while, rather than on a regular basis, it's not a red flag. And there are a few other reasons behind it: (1) If he thumps you when you're about to do something scary, such as give a wedding speech, that's a gesture of encouragement (like the way coaches pat players on the back). (2) If you're in public, it could simply mean he isn't into PDA and wants to keep things casual. (3) If your man is preoccupied — on his iPhone, watching TV — don't take it personally. His mind is temporarily elsewhere.

The Waist Wrap
He encircles your lower back with his hands and pulls you tightly toward him.

Hubba hubba! The dude wants you. "A pelvis-to-pelvis embrace shows he'd like to merge with you sexually," Wood says. The farther down your body his hands travel, the more fired up he is.

There's one last thing to take note of: Does he touch his head to yours? "Then he wants to merge his thoughts with yours as well," Wood adds. Translation: If it's a new relationship, you're more than a fling to him. If you've been together for a while, he's ready to get more emotionally and mentally intimate… after you hit the sack, that is.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at

Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner Body Language

Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner
Lautner's arched eyebrows show he's focused on Swift, according to body language expert Patti Wood, who says the couple isn't in love but "in like." Still, he isn't totally giving himself to her. "He's withholding emotion," says Patti based on the actor's body language.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at

Michelle Obama's Clothing Choices Effect the Ecomony

The latest Harvard Business Review has an interesting article this month on Michelle Obama's clothing choices effecting the profits of certain clothing lines and spiking purchases at certain stores. The researcher hypothesises that because she is the president's wife, young and attractive people notice what she is wearing. He also thinks that the Internet makes it easier for people to see a photo of Michelle in the news and immediately purchase it online. I just feel sorry for all the poor sleeve makers she has put out of work. Smile.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at