Monday, May 20, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2403:
Central Forehead Contraction - The Grief Muscle,
Eyes Wide Open, False Mastication &
Oklahoma Tornado Survivors

My deep condolences to those who lost loved-ones today in the Moore, Oklahoma Tornado.

Jennifer and Todd Tabor are two survivors of Monday's powerful storm which took a very similar path as the 1999 Tornado (which had the highest wind speed in history ever measured on Earth at 318 mph/512 kph). At the time of this post, there have been at least 51 fatalities and hundreds of injuries.

In the video above during the 1:14 - 1:21 segment, the couple displays several telling body language signals during this time of extreme stress:

Note that Todd's eye lids are opened wider than normal. This is a nonverbal signal that he is feeling fear (What other emotions are consistent with eyes that are widely opened?). He can also be seen moving his jaw in a chewing motion. This false mastication (or false chewing) is a common finding in high anxiety scenarios (sometimes seen with anger). Mr. Tabor displays this repeatedly and is very easily visualized in the dynamics of the video.

Jennifer Tabor's central forehead is contracted (CFC) and together with her frown (which is even superimposed over her speech) constitute a common expression of grief. The central forehead is actively contracted during times of physical or emotional pain - either felt directly or secondarily via empathy for other people or animals. In these contexts the CFC should always be accompanied by a congruent mouth expression (never with even a momentary trace of a smile).

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2084:  Lolo Jones's False Mastication/Jaw Clenching

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1522:  False Mastication in Court - Alicia DeBolt and  Adam Longoria

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1876:  Noomi Rapace's Anxiety & False Mastication

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

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

Relationship Secret # 33:  Grief and Affection in Japan

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2274:  The Eyes & Mouth of Fear - Body Language of Ahmed Dogan during Attempted Assassination