Saturday, March 29, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2769: Smiling Out of Context in a Mass Shooter - T.J. Lane's Body Language (VIDEO, PHOTOS)


Thomas "T. J." Lane shot and killed three students while wounding three more (one severely) at Clardon High School (Clardon, Ohio) on 27 February 2012. Lane was 17 years old at the time of the crime and he was tried as an adult. He was sentenced to three life sentences plus twenty-five years for his actions.

This video and these images are from 19 March 2013 - the date Lane was sentenced.

Recently he is challenging the court's decision which had led him to be tried as an adult.

This facial expression was called by many a "smirk". From a body language standpoint this expression contains two primary emotions - that of contempt as well as joy-happiness (ergo a partially suppressed sincere smile).

It is thus helpful to think the following:

Smirk = Contempt + Sincere Smile (partial or full)

There are significant elements of self-righteousness expressed by a smirk.

This expression is very close in timing and expression to the contempt and partially suppressed sincere smile seen above.

This expression is contemptuous with no component of smiling.

A moment removed from the photo immediately above, Lane displays his middle finger to the families of the victims and uttered obscenities.

Although all smiling out of context is not "Duping Delight" (Ekman), Lane's suppressed smile has significant over-lap in this scenario. Lane is taking true joy-happiness in his murderous and malicious acts (thus it's out of context) - he is simply not hiding his emotion. Many (including myself) define evil as when a person has and/or seeks feelings of joy-happiness in witnessing or perpetrating acts of malice. This description would certainly apply here.

We all display the facial expressions of contempt and/or disgust from time to time - however many (but not all) of those who perpetrate terrorist acts and mass shootings will have chronic body language displays of contempt and/or disgust. The ability to see these emotions accurately is of paramount importance in threat assessment.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2259:  Game Show Killer Rodney Alcala Gets Two More Sentences - His Body Language Warning Signs

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2747: Adam Lanza's Warning Sign - Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2629: Sandy Hook Audio Tapes - A Body Language Sign of Disbelief

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2313: Elisa Lam Video in Elevator at Cecil Hotel - What Her Body Language Tells Us ....

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2504:  Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez and a  Commonly Missed Body Language Signal

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2503:  Fort Hood Shooter and his Tell-Tale Body Language  Common to many Mass-Killers -  Nidal Malik Hasan gets the Death Penalty

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2750: Oscar Pistorius, Reeva Steenkamp and Lies - Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2768: Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin - and the VERY UNconscious Uncoupling foretelling their Conscious Uncoupling