Pentagon Analyzes Putin's ... Body Language

And spends lots of money to do so

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 8, 2014 8:51 AM CST

(Newser) – How to figure out what Vladimir Putin might be up to next? You might stare into his eyes to plumb his soul, as George W. Bush famously did. Or you can spend serious money to study his body language, as the Pentagon has done. Defense officials confirmed yesterday that they've commissioned two such studies, one in 2008 and the other in 2012, reports NBC News. In fact, the Pentagon has shelled out $300,000 since 2009 to study the body movements of Putin and other world figures, though no Americans are among them.

It's called the "Body Leads" project, and USA Today explains that it builds off research that first emerged in the 1940s. Here's a taste:

  • Researchers "believed each individual has a unique 'body signature' consisting of how one body movement links to the next. These 'posture/gesture mergers' can lead investigators to learn more about a person's thinking processes and relative truthfulness when matched with what the person says."
Sound a little strange? Apparently, the Pentagon itself thinks so. The studies "have not informed any policy decisions of the Department of Defense,” the Pentagon's press secretary insisted yesterday. He added that defense chief Chuck Hagel hasn't read the studies of Putin, notes the Wall Street Journal.

A Dec. 19 photo of Vladimir Putin.
A Dec. 19 photo of Vladimir Putin.   (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
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