Saturday, October 27, 2018

Body Language Analysis No. 4354: Mass Shooting at Pittsburgh Synagogue - Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (PHOTO)

Earlier today, during Shabbat services, a mass shooting occurred at Tree of Life (L’Simcha) Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Eleven people were killed and at least six others were injured, two of them critically. Before opening fire, the alleged shooter, Robert D. Bowers, yelled, "All Jews must die!"

The above image of Robert Bowers is from one of his social media sites. From a nonverbal perspective, we can glean valuable information in its analysis.

While not extreme, Bowers is clearly displaying a blend of disgust and contempt. A primary component of each these emotional displays is revealed in the area above his upper lip and below his nose. You'll note this 'mustache area' is contracted and tightened (a characteristic of both disgust and contempt). Careful examination, however, reveals it's slightly more tense on one side (here, on HIS right). In this context, this particular asymmetry is indicative of contempt (which may be also manifested with left side bias). Surprisingly, many will confuse such mild (or even moderate) snarl-like expressions with a type of smile. This is a profound and common mistake.

Flaring of the nostrils is another component of both disgust and contempt, although with contempt the flaring is also more pronounced on one side (again, in this case, Bowers' right).

You'll also note that Robert Bowers is not looking directly at the camera. His eyes are turned toward the camera - but his head is only slightly turned - and a bit also with his torso. People will look directly with much less frequency toward those they don't trust/believe, don't respect, and/or don't like.

SUMMARY: When screening people for employment or for any other purpose, social media is a valuable tool in predicting their behavior - including with threat assessment. Social media often acts as a type of reverse Rorschach test - telegraphing to the world one's most prominent thought-emotions. Certainly, individuals who chronically display contempt, disgust, and/or anger (either on social media or in real-time) will not all commit violent crimes - but, crucially, those who do show these emotions with significant frequency will virtually all have impulse control disorder.

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See also:

Body Language Analysis No. 4353: The Murder of Jamal Khashoggi and Trump's Defense of Saudi Arabia

Body Language Analysis No. 4351: Donald Trump Stops Anthony Kennedy in His Tracks

Body Language Analysis No. 4349: Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford - Part III

Body Language Analysis No. 4347: Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings - Part I

Body Language Analysis No. 4345: World Leaders Laugh at Donald Trump at the United Nations General Assembly

Body Language Analysis No. 4339: Pre-Confession Interview of Murderer, Chris Watts

Body Language Analysis No. 4334: Ivanka Trump and the Pistol Steeple

Body Language Analysis No. 4323: Trump Putin Helsinki Summit Press Conference

Body Language Analysis No. 4295: Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos, and Red Flags