|On second thought, maybe there is something to this Movement Pattern Analysis...
"A study from a Pentagon think tank theorizes that Russian President Vladimir Putin has Asperger's syndrome, "an autistic disorder which affects all of his decisions," according to the 2008 report obtained by USA TODAY.
Putin's "neurological development was significantly interrupted in infancy," wrote Brenda Connors, an expert in movement pattern analysis at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I. Studies of his movement, Connors wrote, reveal "that the Russian President carries a neurological abnormality."
The 2008 study was one of many by Connors and her colleagues, who are contractors for the Office of Net Assessment (ONA), an internal Pentagon think tank that helps devise long-term military strategy.
Connors' program is called Body Leads. Military contract records show the Pentagon has paid at least $365,000 on outside experts to work with her since 2009. The two reports mention other work she and associates have done since Putin's rise to power, including a 2005 study called "An Act of Trust to Move Ahead" and studies in 2004-05 and 2008 by movement pattern analysis pioneer Warren Lamb.
Both reports, the 2008 study of Putin and a 2011 analysis of Putin and then-President Dimitry Medvedev, cite Putin's physical difficulties as shaping his decision making and behavior. "His primary form of compensation is extreme control," which "is reflected in his decision style and how he governs," the report said.
Military analysts first noticed Putin's movement patterns on Jan. 1, 2000, "in the first television footage ever seen of the then, newly appointed president of Russia," wrote Connors, who has been studying movement patterns for the Pentagon since 1996.
"Today, project neurologists confirm this research project's earlier hypothesis that very early in life perhaps, even in utero, Putin suffered a huge hemispheric event to the left temporal lobe of the prefrontal cortex, which involves both central and peripheral nervous systems, gross motor functioning on his right side (head, rib cage, arm and leg) and his micro facial expression, eye gaze, hearing and voice and general affect," the report said.
Movement pattern analysis means studying an individual's movements to gain clues about how he or she makes decisions or reacts to events. First developed in Great Britain in the 1940s by Rudolf Laban, a Hungarian movement analyst and dance instructor, the practice was expanded after World War II by Lamb, Laban's protégé and a British management consultant.
Experts believe each individual has a unique "body signature" that tracks 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 combined with the person's speaking.
Lamb, who died last year at age 90, believed the patterns were unique as DNA to each person.
Since July 2011, the war college had paid more than $230,000 to Richard Rende, a Brown University psychiatrist [he's a psychologist, actually] and specialist in the field of movement pattern analysis, federal spending records show. Rende received a no-bid contract last year for his work on the Body Leads project.
Timothy Colton, a Harvard University expert on Russia, has been paid $113,915 since 2009 for his research with Connors, military contract records show.
Rende, Connors and Colton published in September 2013 a paper in the academic journal Frontiers in Psychology that detailed the uses of movement pattern analysis to determine leaders' decision-making process. Such analysis, they wrote, "offers a unique window into individual differences in decision-making style."
"The premise of Body Leads," Connors wrote in 2011, "is that meticulous attention to nonverbal signals — to the physical movement of the body and its parts, as distinct from speech — yield insights into the behavior of individuals, including for present purposes political leaders.""