Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2871: Kate Middleton, Andy Murray and Wimbledon - Body Language of Empathy-Fear (PHOTOS)

Kate Middleton was in attendance at Wimbledon earlier today along with Prince William. Unfortunately the royal couple did not like what they saw. Andy Murray, the defending Champion faced Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals and came up short, 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-2. 

This image of Kate is a great body language example of two emotions blended in one facial expression. Do you know which two?

The Duchess of Cambridge's neck muscles (platysma and sternocleidomastoids) are tightened in what is known as "The Neck of Fear" (with a clenched and retracted jaw [mandible]). Her mouth also has signals of fear - as the corners are vectored backwards and also somewhat downward. This exposes the bottom teeth. There is a variation in this "Fear Mouth" however; with more elevated levels of fear - primarily felt for oneself or those very emotionally close to you - the bottom teeth are the primary ones being uncovered. Yet here Catherine's upper teeth have considerable exposure. Now direct your attention to her central forehead. The periphery of her forehead is relaxed while the central portion is contracted (CFC). Her inner (medial) eyebrows are also raised. This configuration (as long as the mouth is congruent) indicates pain - either physical or emotional pain. The pain may be being experienced directly or secondarily for another person(s) and/or animal(s) via empathy. There is a very important caveat however - as alluded to, the simultaneous mouth expression must parallel these emotions - and on this occasion Kate's mouth and central forehead are certainly in agreement.

The Duchess feels emotional pain and empathy for Andy Murray. She is in emotional pain when he loses a game, set or match. She likes Murray and has empathy for him. If, however, this were a loss of greater consequence - or say it were Pippa, William or someday George in a tennis match - all things being equal, we would see greater fear and thus more bottom teeth and less top teeth. This bottom-to-top teeth exposure ration is an outstanding (and oft overlooked) way to quantify fear (even empathy-fear) nonverbally.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2494:  Prince William Interview on Fatherhood and Baby George Body Language Tells 

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 392:  Christmas Cheer - Kate Middleton's and Prince William's Suppressed Smiles

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2870: Cate Blanchett and a Subtle Body Language Signal of Insincere Laughter