Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2056:
Aurora, Colorado Mass Shooting
Similarities in Body Language with other Mass Killers

James Holmes, the suspect in the recent "Batman" mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado is pictured in the above image. It was taken during his preliminary court hearing yesterday. From a Body Language standpoint, his mouth is neutral (cover up the rest of his face and look only at his mouth) - however his eyelids are opened widely. There is also a central forehead contraction (with the sides of his forehead relaxed) with the medial (inner) portions of his eyebrows mildly elevated.

When the central forehead is contracted there should be a co-existing mouth expression which is negative (usually that of sadness, pain and sometimes anger). A Central Forehead Contraction (CFC) with a negative mouth expression indicates physical or emotional pain - experienced directly or indirectly via empathy. When a CFC has no negative concomitant mouth expression (again, Holmes' mouth is neutral) - or particularly when a mouth "smile" (which is of course ALWAYS a false smile) - this is RED FLAG time. Indeed, prolonged eyelid retraction (if there are no medical causes) even without the contraction of the central forehead muscles is also be a WARNING SIGN.

While certainly not universal expressions among mass murders (and all people who display these expressions are not murders), it is very intriguing to note how often these nonverbal components are seen among these deviants when compared to the general population. Consistent display of this expression is highly suspicious for narcissism, sociopathic or psychopathic behavior.

Pictured below is Ted Bundy, a mass serial killer of at least thirty people.

While not a serial killer in the classic sense, Marshall Applewhite imaged below, led 39 people to the largest mass-suicide in the United States (1997).

Jared Loughner (below) killed six people and wounding 14 (including then U.S. House of Representative member, Gabrielle Giffords) in a mass shooting (Tucson) in January of 2011.