Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2787: Korean Ferry Sinking, Empathy and Emotional Processing - Body Language (PHOTOS)

The recent tragic sinking of the Korean Ferry gives an unfortunate window into a particular nonverbal behavior which few people understand. Covering of the mouth during moments of extreme sadness is not an attempt to prevent people from seeing us becoming emotional or to quiet the sound of our sobs. It is a subconsciously driven body language phenomenon signaling our emotional brain is processing a dramatic event and its ramifications. While the logic and intellect may know what has transpired - the emotional brain is having trouble grasping the events and it's trying to catch up.

This mouth covering often occurs very rapidly. Sometimes other portions of the face (e.g. cheeks or eyes) are also involved - or they are alternatively the primary areas being occluded - however the mouth is much more common.

Those who cover their mouths (or cheeks, eyes, etc.) when hearing and/or seeing dramatic news have significantly higher empathy quotients compared with those who don't display this nonverbal signal.

Blessings and condolences to the families and loved-ones of the victims of this tragedy.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2579: Brandon Bryant Body Language of Disgust and Empathy - Confessions of a Drone Operator

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2669: Sara Bareilles and the Body Language of the Rationalization Rapport Empathy Expression

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2720: Ireen Wüst - A Gold Medal, Emotional Processing and Empathy

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2618: Learning of Kennedy Assassination - Body Language of Sudden Facial Touching

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2512:  Matthew Cordle's YouTube Confession  and the Death of Vincent Canzani  "I Killed a Man" - What His Body Language Tells Us ...  It's NOT what you think!

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2699: Reince Priebus and the Republican Get it All Wrong While Trying to Win Woman Voters - Got Empathy? 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2786: Jewish Community Center Shooter - Frazier Glenn Cross, Jr - A Very Common Body Language Display of "Hate Crimes", Mass Shootings and Terrorism