Patti's Rough Notes from CNN and HLN Interview on Zimmerman's Body Language

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Overall I see Zimmerman; defiant at times angry, upset and pained to have here is parents testimony.

See my notes below on how chained handcuffs may affect body language and make anyone angry. There is only one small piece of tape showing his sitting down so you can see the handcuffs.

In Courtroom, at beginning of bond hearing, Zimmerman is defiant and angry.  With the facial muscles around the mouth held tight he appears to be showing classic signs of anger he is biting down hard, and thrust the chin up and forward.  This body language says, “Don’t mess with me.” In body language we go forward with are bodies to attack. When someone is pumping themselves up to fight they may as Zimmerman is doing here, push their chests up and out and lead with their jaw.

CNN video tittles “Zimmerman’s dad” He has gashes on head”

As Zimmerman listens to his dad describe his injuries his shoulders are back head is up. One of the few times he blinks normally. Lawyer tweaks questions of Zimmerman’s father, “Did you see any pictures of that? Zimmerman does an eyes shutter closing his eyes to the situation.

Zimmerman is pained to have his father questioned.  When the defense attorney repeats the question you see (time code: 31 to 32) Zimmerman’s head go down and his whole faces to scrunches us in pain like a child about to cry.

In other tape today

Zimmerman also shows other classic anger signals. Anger – Anger shows pull your eyebrows down and together so the inner corners of your eyes go down and towards your nose then you stare so that your upper eyelids and your lowered eyebrows meet now press your lips together tightly lips appear very thin.  When someone is about to attack signal of a pressed lips tend to precede arms going out to attack. Zimmerman does lips presses of anger as well as lip puckering in distaste

There are contextual situational reasons that we may see some of the emotions in Zimmerman for example he is in chained handcuffs. In research on anger when physiologist are trying to create the emotion of anger in subjects they produce anger by holding the arms of the research subject so they cannot get free. If we are prevented from doing what we want to do, in this case Zimmerman wishes to defend himself, also when we feel that someone is trying to deliberately hurt us or denigrate us in any way the natural response is anger or fear. And if we are fearful a way stress response freeze flight fight fall or faint o reduce the fear and feel stronger is to become angry. Anger increases the heart rate produces adrenaline.

Also anger calls forth Anger. The Prosecuting attorney is very skilled. His voice is incredulous and angry and he attacks Zimmerman with his questions. Specifically asking about Zimmerman about saying he was sorry.  

As he comes in the courtroom and sits with the handcuffs.

Asked his name he reply’s  “George Michael Zimmerman” on head forward and chin up imperious shoulders back.

We see him take a breath micro facial cue . “as his lawyer says” anything he says, see his lips close on NBC NEW. Time stamp 17. showing he wants to keep something in, slight indication what is coming out next is not the truth.  

I wanted to say, I am sorry, for the loss of your son,  I did not know how old he was I thought he was a little younger than I am. I did not know that he was armed or not’ All addressed with his head to the lawyer his heart straight forward. 
When prosecuting attorney said (time :37 “ no to the mother and father CNN 10:54 in courtroom. His nose flares, his brow leaps to  up see the folds and his eyebrows went up asymmetrically his lips purse in distaste in slight anger. See how his chin stays up. He is confident.

Prosecutor says, “You told that to the police,” Zimmerman:58 presses his lips up and gives an asymmetrical grimace (Neocortex logical brain and emotional limbic brain in conflict. / note his eyes he glares. He is mad, but trying to suppress it and he feels caught in the lie.
“Who did you make that statement too?” Zimmerman replies, “Aahhhh” shakes his head no again as Prosecutor says, “I believe you gave five statements total” (Time code 1:21) He shakes his head no while saying, “Yes sir I am sorry, all the names blend together. Has micro facial cue again eyebrows up big smirk asymmetrical revealing anger and fear then purse. 
“I don’t remember exactly what verbatim,” His paralanguage is more abrupt he gives a vocal strike on the word verbatim. He gives an eye block (time code 1:40)
Time code 2:10 time on the clock10:56. You left a message for them to tell them that. Zimmerman furrowed brow lips again pursed in distaste.
Prosecutor, “Why did you wait so long to tell Mr. Martin” Zimmerman at time code  Zimmerman reply’s in soft submissive voice, “I don’t understand the question, I am sorry.” (time code 2:17) But he follows it wish a lip press of frustration, and a tongue thrust (sticking out his tongue to attack the prosecutor) showing he does understand the implication of the question and is mad>  

Body Language baseline in the First Court Appearance Rather than have what I normally see the turtle head bow their head erect posture, facial musculature stoic

Squirrel in the headlight Fear response especially when he first walks in White and Wide Increased sympathetic nervous system activity and elevated adrenaline anyone would have that, blinking increased.
Baseline Zimmerman’s body Language before First Court Appearance Turtle head bow their head erect posture, facial musculature stoic.

Squirrel in the headlight Fear response especially when he first walks in White and Wide Increased sympathetic nervous system activity and elevated adrenaline anyone would have that, blinking increased.

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