Read their lips and fingertips

Party political leaders hope that television viewers concentrate on their words and their carefully choreographed delivery as they present their election manifestos.

But Geoff Beattie, professor of psychology at Manchester University, believes that we can learn much more about what politicians really think if we focus on their body language.

As the election gathers pace, he will be presenting tips on what to look for in Body Politic , to be screened every day as part of ITV's news programmes.

Professor Beattie, author of a book on the subject and resident psychologist on Channel 4's Big Brother , suggests that politicians' hand gestures and facial expressions often tell a different story from what they are saying.

Tony Blair's sudden fixed smile may be designed to exude confidence, but his expression a quarter of a second after it drops leaves a different impression.

Michael Howard, the Tory leader, seemed unflustered during his manifesto launch, but the stabbing motion of his pointing finger suggested otherwise.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Woman taking homeopathic medicine

Alternative treatments in healthcare plan is latest in a series of homeopathy-related controversies

  • Man lying beneath rugby pile-up

Six academics share their experiences before delivering a verdict on the system

  • Zygmunt Bauman with hand over mouth

Eminent sociologist has recycled 90,000 words of material across a dozen books, claims paper

  • Foot about to step on banana peel

Kevin Haggerty and Aaron Doyle offer tips on making postgraduate study even tougher (which students could also use to avoid pitfalls if they prefer)

Phil Baty explains why hundreds of research papers will not be considered when compiling the next Times Higher Education rankings