Saturday, August 16, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2922: Evacuating Yazidis from Iraq's Mount Sinjar - A Daughter's Anguish, Empathy and Mirror Neurons (PHOTOS)

Recently many of Iraq's Yazidi population were trapped on Mount Sinjar surrounded by ISIS forces. Within the past week, after U.S. airstrikes weakened ISIS, some of them have escaped on their own, others have been killed or captured - and others are still there. This mother and her 15 year-old daughter were among two of the few who were evacuated.

This particular image is very empathy evoking - but do you know why? The girl is grieving for her father who was left behind and for what will happen to him. 

When a person's central forehead contracts (CFC) accompanied by a mouth expression indicative of sadness, fright or pain (emotional or physical pain) - it elicits very strong empathy for those who see it. Often we don't even have to know the person, yet we feel their anguish. The ability to feel another person(s) (or animal's) emotion is empathy. Although there may be many (as yet undiscovered) mechanisms which engender empathy, one of these is the healthy functioning of mirror neurons. Those with a deficit of, or hypo-functional mirror neurons will therefore also have an empathy deficit - or even an absence of it (e.g. Narcissists, Sociopaths, etc.).

This girl is just at the moment where she's beginning to cry. It is extremely characteristic that the central forehead contracts and elevates (with the peripheral forehead muscles being relaxed) during this crucial moment. It is also extremely emotionally provoking in people who witness such moments (in those who have higher empathy quotients).

Some people can bring on false tears, yet in such cases of the commencement of tears - their central foreheads are not contracted in this manner (rather for example, the entire width of their forehead is elevated or the central forehead is pulled together but lowered instead).

My prayers and wishes for the reunification of this and all families affected by this event.

Photo Credit: Warzer Jaff

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2921: Eve Hewson (Bono's Daughter) Recounts Phone Pranking Justin Timberlake

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

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1732:  Rationalization, Rapport, Empathy Expression  How Jewel got her name 

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

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2052:  Dialing Up Empathy and Sincerity -  Mitt Romney's & Barack Obama's Response to  Aurora, Colorado "Batman Shooting"