Saturday, December 22, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2238:
Sandy Hook Elementary Teacher Lauren Rousseau's
Boyfriend's Body Language -
Grief & Suppression of Negative Emotions & Empathy

Sandy Hook Elementary School Teacher Lauren Rousseau is one of the six adults who were killed in last week's mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Ms. Rousseau's boyfriend Tony Lusardi is interviewed by CNN reporter, Poppy Harlow. Like any highly emotional moment, this video is laden with many nonverbal signals. 

At several times between 2:06 - and 2:23, Mr. Lusardi displays an Inward Lip Roll (ILR). The lips entirely disappear as they are gently to moderately forced between teeth which are "biting down". The inward lip roll is a very common nonverbal display indicating the psyche's attempt to suppress negative emotions - usually either grief/sadness or anger. It's often seen when people are attempting not to cry. The ILR can also be displayed during a relatively focused physical action.

At several times during this interview, e.g. during the 2:28 - 2:30 mark, Mr. Lusardi's grief grows and his central forehead is momentarily contracted (CFC). The central forehead contracts (with a relaxation of the peripheral forehead) when a person is in emotional pain or physical pain. Intriguingly, this pain may be experienced directly, as in a grieving boyfriend - or indirectly via empathy, as Poppy Harlow displays with her own CFC during the 2:31 - 2:33 mark. She further displays her desire to comfort Mr. Lusardi and her anxiety that this creates, as she rubs her own thigh during this same time. Empathy for another person's pain is one of the most fundamental characteristics of what it means to be fully human. 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2231: A Common Facial Expression of Mass Killers - Using Body Language as a Threat Assessment Tool

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2232: Vicki Soto, a Hero, Body Language and a Mother's Love & Affection  - Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting Interview

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2229: President Obama and a Body Language Signal of  Holding Back Grief, Tears & other Negative Emotions 

Nonverbal Communication Exercise # 2012: Got Empathy? An Appeal to Asma al-Assad  Diplomacy through Unconventional Channels

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1499: Bill Clinton's Empathy for Eric Fehrnstrom and  Mitt Romney ... What's Your Sincerity Quotient?

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1525:  Up for Auction, Up for Interpretation -  Edvard Munch's "The Scream"