The Chinny Chin-Chin Can Talk

Practical Applications for Nonverbal Intelligence and the Emotional Indicators of The Pout.

By David M. Schneer, Ph.D./CEO

3-Minute Read

Most of us are familiar with the term-jaw-dropping surprise—the mouth agape with teeth showing. This behavior is a reliable indicator that someone has truly been caught off guard, has lost their way, or may even be terrified.[1] The pout can also indicate silent resignation or acceptance.

But what about when someone’s chin starts chattering? Yes, the chin has a language all its own. And you’ve probably seen it more than a few times—especially if you have children or work with them. It’s the pout. Children are likely to pout when they are sad, frustrated, or in precarious situations.

But what about adults? We pout too. You can see it in negotiations when people will pout (often seen as mottling of the skin at the end of the chin) when they disagree with something. And they don’t even know they are doing it. This is a telltale sign that something is amiss.[2]

And it looks like this.

A Telltale Sign of Inner Conflict

Sudden pouts are often very visible, even via video conferencing. When you observe it, do not ignore it. At Merrill Research, we see participants pout in qualitative studies when they are struggling to grasp a new product concept, for example, or if they dislike it. And when we see this behavior, it is always an opportunity to probe and learn more. If you see this behavior, then you might follow up with a question asking the person if they have any concerns or if there is any confusion. Dig deep enough, and you will find out that there is.

Contact us today to see how we can help you or your organization become proficient at finding out what people are really thinking when they communicate with you. 

Most Communication is Nonverbal. Are You Fluent?

[1] Givens, David B.; White, John. The Rutledge Dictionary of Nonverbal Communications, s.v., “Jaw,” Rutledge, Third Avenue, New York New York 10158

[2] Ibid., 187