This incredible moment, captured in an image by Matt Munson this past weekend, has gone viral while elevating the national dialog regarding respect, aspects of parenthood and empathy. Almost no one would blame children of this age for climbing on many things which are "climbable" (and even some that are not) - yet at this instant this photo of two children climbing on the Vietnam Women's Memorial was taken ... their parents were laughing.
From a nonverbal perspective, the two gentleman expression's on the right act as mirrors for what most other people feel that see this image. We are immediately drawn to the National Mall with them.
Also of note are the temporary, deepened furrows which course from the sides of his mid-nose to the corners of the mouth (nasal-labial furrows). Both of his lips are elevated and the lower one is protruding. The chin is subtly dimpled and his torso is also leaning away. Notice that his eyebrows are both lowered (all of the above are consistent with disgust) but they're also drawn together - indicating the presence of a component of anger. At the same moment his forehead is also contracted and elevated - projecting disbelief. The simultaneous emotions of disgust, anger and disbelief are completely within the emotional context of this scenario.
The gentleman in the wheelchair - a veteran - has a facial configuration which is somewhat less fully expressed. With his left side is contracted and elevated more than his right side - (baring any medical causes) - this is indicative of contempt. The left nostril flaring and his lower lip protrusion both also project this emotional tone. His eyelids are also opened very widely along with a dramatically contracted and elevated forehead across its entire width - once again, more disbelief.
A picture tells a thousand words ... and a few very powerful emotions.
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3136: Barack Obama and Brother-in-Law Craig Robinson at Princeton's Game - Contrasting Low Empathy vs. High Empathy - Body Language
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 1841: Disgust in Response to Rep. Barney Frank's "Hoodie" Joke
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2228: Jay Carney's Body Language - Contempt disguised as a Sniff .... for Republicans' Solutions to the Fiscal Cliff
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2312: Bruce Willis' Body Language - Contempt vs. Suppressed Smile vs. Pseudo Smile vs. Sincere Smile