Thursday, March 17, 2011

Relationship Secret # 21:
Surprise + Fear + Empathy

This image shows an example of three strong emotions combined in a single moment.  These three people are watching the one of the World Trade Center Towers Collapse on September 11, 2001.  The elevated positions of the eyes lids, eye brows and foreheads are consistent with surprise and fear. These are most pronounced and more evident on the two women.  

Surprise is the most fleeting of all emotions and is almost always followed by another strong emotion such as fear, anger or embarrassment. The woman who is pointing, has a mouth posture that is transitioning from surprise to fear.

Whenever you see this eye/upper facial appearance coupled with a quick covering of the mouth, there is either extreme disbelief-surprise, strong fear, profound empathy - or all three being felt.  If you watch any media from the Sendai Earthquake-Tsunami, you'll probably find yourself adopting a similar expression many times.