Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2323:
Jodi Arias Murder Trial
The Body Language of Unilateral Regret vs. Contempt

Warning: The video above contains sexually explicit dialog as well as other graphic details. If you are younger than 18 years or such subjects are offensive to you, please do not watch it. The body language exemplified and discussed in this post is not germane to the sexual-related portion of the video and you can jump ahead to about the 2:28 mark (approximately 85% of the way through this 3:02 length video) to view the dynamics & context of the specific nonverbal sited here - which occurs at the 2:47 mark).

Jodi Arias is on trial for the murder of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. During the 2:43 - 2:51 segment, when asked to explain a note she left at her boyfriend's memorial service, telling him how much she loved him - Ms. Arias (in part) says, "...Well I still had love for him yes and [pause with microexpression display - see below] I was thinking now more in terms of eternity...."

At the 2:47 mark (noted in the above paragraph an in the image below but much better viewed dynamically in the video), Jodi Arias displays a microexpression of regret. Regret has a primarily lateral vector of one corner of the mouth (here, Ms. Arias' left), whereas contempt has a primary upward vector. Contempt also has more nostril flaring (aka nasal dilation) than regret (which in its pure form has little nostril involvement). Contempt also has more tension of the "mustache area" (the tissue between the upper lip and nose) and thus looks more like a snarl. Another way of saying this is that with this expression of pure contempt (because emotions are often mixed), the primary lip movement occurs in between the cupid's bow and the corner of the mouth - and with this type of pure regret expression, the primary motion occurs at one corner. Regret has very little to no eyelid involvement - however contempt will (with moderate to extreme examples) often have a partial unilateral eyelid closure (similar to a unilateral appearance of what occurs bilaterally with mild to moderate anger). Regret may often be amalgamated with self-contempt and indeed regret is often the more dominant component (e.g. We may regret our own misdeeds - while we tend to judge others).

This microexpression of regret may also be confused by some with that of "Duping Delight" - but it is not.  Duping delight (Ekman) is often (but not always) seen expressed unilaterally and is often seen in a courtroom setting.  Unilateral regret, self-contempt and contempt towards others may also be confused with the nonverbal of a pseudo-smile - aka a false, fake or social smile.

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2228:  Jay Carney's Body Language -  Contempt disguised as a Sniff ....  for Republicans' Solutions to the Fiscal Cliff

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1890:  Eric Holder has (Emotional) Contempt toward Darrell Issa -  while Rep. Issa is Very Excited to be Seeking  "Contempt of Congress" against Holder

Nonverbal Communication Intelligence Analysis # 2111:  Mitt Romney on Libya Embassy Killings -  Multiple Displays of Contempt

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2058:  DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's "False Contempt" The Importance of "Norming"

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1897:  George Zimmerman's Reenactment of  Trayvon Martin Shooting

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1548:  Trayvon Martin's Death -  George Zimmerman and his First Court Appearance

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 1696:  George Zimmerman's Testimony -  Fear, Incredulity, Regret & Contempt