Monday, April 8, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2359:
Anne Smedinghoff and her Body Language of Joy-Happiness

Anne Smedinghoff died over the weekend in Afghanistan. The United States diplomat was killed along with five others when a suicide bomber attacked her convoy as she was delivering books to a school. Her parents speak of her truly doing what she wanted to do. Smedinghoff's smile in the above image speaks of this too - for it has all the components of a true and sincere smile. Her eyelids are partially closed - which is a must for all true joy smiles. Her "smiling eyes" are further characterized by a dynamic, concave-up furrow in each of her lower lids. This temporary fold of skin is a product of her cheek muscles (zygomaticus major) being elevated and the peripheral portion of her "eyelid closing muscles" [orbicularis oculi (pars orbitalis)] contracting.

Note also Anne's forehead is relaxed and smooth. There are no furrows or dynamic wrinkles on her forehead - thus indicating no muscle contraction. Whenever the forehead muscles are contracted, the "smile" (pseudo-smile) is never a sincere one.

It is not necessary for any teeth to be exposed during a truly sincere (Duchenne Smile) - examples of this occur when the smile is being suppressed or during initial stages of formation. The lower teeth are not usually visible during a sincere smile either - but there are exceptions here as well (e.g.: If the smile is held too long - fatigue sets in; if the camera angle or person is significantly taller and thus looking downwards; or if there is a component of laughter present). 

Anne Smedinghoff's facial expression body language has all the components of one in the midst of true joy.

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