By November 15, 2016

Akshay’s contradictory displays


Clearly Akshay Kumar was not very relaxed in his appearance with his wife Twinkle Khanna on the sets of Koffee with Karan season 5 last week. We saw a lot of forced smiles, tensed lips, etc. But in this particular picture what we see is an interesting display of contradictory signals. Here are the list of each of these:

Comfort displays:

  • He is smiling, which signals he is relaxed
  • He is establishing direct eye contact towards her, which signals he is not shy or less confident
  • He is holding her hand, where the touch is being used to signal trust in each other

Discomfort displays

  • His torso is pointing away from her, which we do when we are not very comfortable in the company of someone and thus we display ventral blading or not showing our entire torso to them
  • His legs are crossed away from her, which means he is not fully involved in the interaction

During times like these, when someone displays contradictory signals, which signals should you trust, the comfort ones or the discomfort ones?

We would want to go with the discomfort signals displayed by the body, because our limbic brain or the primitive brain is instinctively hardwired to react to situations which cause us any psychological discomfort. Simply put, when we face threat or uneasiness of any kind, we react to show our discomfort before even realising it. So reading the above picture in context, Akshay is trying, in the moment, to show his support for his spouse by holding her hand, and by eye contact showing that he does not feel under confident with what she just said. But his mind is still struggling to open up to the show, the host, or the question answer environment. Ideally, he would have uncrossed his legs, faced her, and then held her hand if the gesture was genuine.

It is never easy to guess why someone feels discomforted, but we do know from Akshay’s body language that he is not at ease.

Image courtesy: Mid-day

Posted in: Personalities

About the Author:

Khyati Bhatt has trained for mastery in Nonverbal Communication with retired FBI special agent Joe Navarro. She founded Simply Body Talk in 2013 to help individuals and corporates fine tune their nonverbal behavior and nonverbal communication. Khyati believes in taking a scientific approach to body language. Her experience as a wealth manager, currency trader, and family entrepreneur has helped sharpen her nonverbal instincts. She is a fervent reader and has explored the work of many psychologists and anthropologists in her field of work.

4 Comments on "Akshay’s contradictory displays"

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  1. S says:

    Legs crossed other way is a because tinu doesn’t want his shoes to spoil her dress !

    • Khyati Bhatt says:

      Possible. But context and other clusters are always a clue. Look at how his body is tilted away from hers. Actually away from both of them. He knows they are childhood friends and expects them to chat about difficult topics with ease, which is possibly why he is on guard.

  2. PN says:

    Interesting learning. However the interpretation seems specific to this picture. There are other pictures available where his torso is not away from her and what S said above.

    • Khyati Bhatt says:

      Body language is always at any point in time. Because our thoughts, emotions and intentions keep changing and shifting, the same is reflected in our body language, sometimes large behaviours, sometimes subtle ones. Glad you could spot how he is oriented away from her in the picture we analyse together.