Thursday, November 15, 2007

Drew Peterson

0;35;15 and 0;42;15

When asked to comment on his wife, Stacy, telling her family members to look for her body if she was to disappear, Drew Peterson showed not concern for her but, rather, anger and disgust. Notice how his chin rises and a slight bulge forms below the mouth and that his lower lip tightens. The worry? Anger links to violence, and disgust means rejection – a combination that could be lethal.


So often during the interview with Matt Lauer, Drew Peterson either didn’t emote, blinked (out of stress) or closed his eyes or otherwise looked away. Such an avoidant, subdued response doesn’t exactly scream empathy or concern for his wife’s disappearance. Moreover, the slight sarcastic smiles and signs of contempt shown here, where the corner of the mouth twists up, suggest a sense of eerie disengagement instead of worrying about his wife’s fate.


Some of the strongest signs of anger came when questioned about Stacy’s statement to friends that she had found her husband controlling and abusive. Not only did Drew hedge by saying he “didn’t believe” he’d ever been physically abusive to her, his eyes narrowed in anger and his lower lip tightened slightly in a parallel display of anger.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Faces of Halloween Monsters

Vampire - you_must_have_faith_drksde

When ready to pounce on an unlucky soul, the vampire’s eyes grow wild with excitement. The eyebrows become deeply furrowed and lowered in obvious anger. The mouth is stretched wide, displaying tremendous tension, exposing vicious fangs, oftentimes dripping in blood from his latest victim.

Witch - cackle_01_drksde

Typically the witch’s eyebrows are knitted together in anger and the upper lip is scrunched in disgust. The traditional Halloween witch is very old and extremely wrinkled, complete with a green complexion. The long, pointy, wart-covered nose is classic and is often seen sneering with upper lips raised in disgust, exposing rotten, yellowed teeth in a crooked smile. No witch is worth her salt without a protruding chin, complete with a hairy mole. She’s ready to delight in inflicting pain on her intended victim…possibly Hansel and Gretel?

Werewolf- werewolf-mask-6

The werewolf’s dominant feature is his mouthful of vicious teeth, particularly the long, sharp fangs used to rip his victims to shreds. The mouth is stretched extremely wide in a display of intense anger and ferocity. The werewolf’s forehead and eyebrows are deeply furrowed, demonstrating fierce intensity.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Michael Vick

On August 27th, District Judge Henry Hudson accepted Michael Vick's guilty plea. Shortly afterwards, Vick held a press conference, shown below.

Three types of facial expression activity are most notable during Vick’s press conference. One type is understandably enough sheer nervousness, given the need to face the press and the public at large, let alone the sentencing yet to come, as exhibited by his lip chewing and wetting his lips.

The second type is also understandably enough sadness, as exhibited by lowered head and closing his eyes. He would also seem to be rather shell-shocked and perhaps even depressed because the amount of emotional activity evident on his face is rather low given the situation. Notably, for instance, he doesn’t show any emotion while saying that "through this situation I’ve found Jesus" and in apologizing to his many fans, including "the young kids I’ve let down."

The third type, however, is contempt, which is not so readily explained. Almost all of Vick’s actual facial expressions involve the contempt shown in how the upper left corner of his mouth curls up. Is the contempt shown because of morally rejecting his own actions or for the media circus and the statements he must make, whether he believes them or not?

After all, he does say "I understand it’s important, or not important, what you say, but how you say things," as if to reveal the coaching he’s received prior to making his statement. Notably, he shows contempt while making that statement. Moreover, he shows contempt yet again when he says: "take this opportunity just to speak from the heart." Those examples fit with the contempt Vick shows while making perhaps the key comment: "dog fighting is a terrible thing and I do reject it."

It’s hard not to think some of the reaction is explained by a lack of conviction about the statements he's making. That’s because a) he doesn’t show emotion during the moments he cites Jesus or apologizes to fans; b) the contempt is shown frequently, including even before Vick begins his prepared remarks; and c) because the other emotion he shows, just once, is disgust – in apologizing to people to whom he wasn’t "forthright." There alone the reaction seems most telling of real regret.

Monday, August 6, 2007

ABC's Republican Candidate Forum in Des Moines, Iowa at Drake University

This week is coverage of the Republican Candidates in Des Moines, Iowa. Here is the video:

This is what I call McCain’s very characteristic “puffer fish look.” In response to numerous issues about which he’s vexed that more progress hasn’t been made, McCain’s will display a combination of pressed lips (annoyance), suppressed, ironic smile (puffed cheeks) and an upside down smile (where his chin rises and the mouth pushes up, revealing a combination of anger, disgust and sadness or disappointment).

If Americans vote for the most optimistic candidate (and they most often do), then this debate was generally good news for Romney and Huckabee, the two candidates whose smiling activity was by far the most common among the contenders.

Romney had his tough moments, though, and they came early in the debate regarding abortion. Asked to comment on Brownback’s robo-calls doubting Romney’s pro-life position, Romney showed anger, lapsed into disgust and sadness (lips corners down), and managed some smiles mixed with closing his eyes as if he wished the whole issue would just go away.

Paul, Tancredo and Brownback are the angry, aging men, pushing for change.

Hunter is given to showing contempt for anyone who differs with his views.

Giuliani had enough levity to show mock fear in response to being asked to explain his biggest mistake in life in only 30 seconds; but what’s more characteristic is that the left side of his mouth rises in a sign of disgust as he explains his views and denounces those of the Democrats.

Tommy Thompson has pained, often empathetic expressions of sadness and disgust as he wishes for change.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Chertoff's gut feeling

This week we take a look at the announcement by Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of Homeland Security, from last week, on July 10th. He describes what has given him "gut feelings" about possible upcoming attacks and "increased vulnerability" from Al Qaeda.

Here is the video and the transcript:

"I believe we're entering a period this summer of increased risk. We've seen a lot more public statements from Al Qaeda. There are a lot of reasons to speculate about that but one reason that occurs to me is that they're feeling more comfortable and raising expectations. In the last August, and in prior summers, we've had attacks against the West, which suggests that summer seems to be appealing to them. I think we do see increased activity in South Asia, so we do worry about whether they are rebuilding their capabilities. We've struck at them and degraded them, but they rebuild. All these things have given me kind of a gut feeling that we are in a period of increased vulnerability."

A couple of things stand out. First, Chertoff shows a little bit of anger, as shown on the left. His most common expression throughout this clip is sadness (see top image at right). He was discussing the ways one could speculate about as to what the increased activity means when the image was taken.

What stood out even more was how often he closed his eyes and/or looked down. This is a sign of sadness, but it might also indicate that Chertoff is exhausted. Each of the two groups of images at the right (the left column in a red border and the right column in the blue border) were taken over a five second period. He showed this nine times over the ten seconds. He also displayed it at other times during the segment.

Is he really sad at the prospect of the increased vulnerability, or is he just exhausted? Is Chertoff really sad and indignant about this possible threat? Unfortunetly, at this point, your guess is as good as mine.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Paris Hilton talks about jail with Larry King

This week we facially code Paris Hilton's interview on Larry King Live from June 27th, 2007. This took place shortly after she was released from jail. Here is a snippet of that interview:

The first is a photo from when she was taken back to jail to finish serving her time. As you can see, she was truly upset and showing sadness.

The 2nd photo is her smiling after she said:

"I've been through a lot. It's a pretty traumatic experience and something I really have grown from."

As you can see, she is smiling, not traumatic on a lingering basis or detached.

Later on in the interview, Larry King says that prison and jail are there to teach a lesson and asks, "Did it work for you?" Her verbal response was fairly straightforward saying that it gave her time to reflect on who she was and on what is important to her.

Her facial reactions were much different. First, upper lip slightly curled in disgust followed by contempt. Whether it was directed at Larry King and his question, the media circus in general, or reflected her giving a pat, insincere answer we can only guess.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Will he or won't he run?

These video snippets were taken from the announcement made by Michael Bloomberg, current Mayor of New York City, concerning his departure from the Republican party. He is now an independent, which brought rise to questions concerning whether or not he would be entering the presidential race.

The photo on the top denotes a basic, middle level anger expression. This reaction reveals Bloomberg's response to being asked repeatedly by the press whether he will run for president.

The second photo shows a tight lipped smile. While Bloomberg's hardly has an easy-going personality, here he seems to be enjoying the "media circus" at least a little.

On the third image, Mark Bloomberg is showing some contempt for the "media circus." On one hand he likes it, while on the other he dismisses it.

The bottom photo shows him with a true smile on his face. This is an example of how much he absolutely likes the limelight, fueling speculation that he might in fact run for president despite the annoyance portrayed initially during his news conference.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"Facetime" Speech by Dan Hill

Dan Hill, the man behind The Face of the Week, will be giving a speech to the Women's Club of Minneapolis. This is free to attend and will be an interesting and fun time. Please feel free to bring a friend or two or to email this page to anyone you know who may be interested.

When: This Monday June 25 at 7:30pm
Where: The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis' Ballroom

Gain a profound and entertaining understanding of the role emotions play in our lives, how they are conveyed in our faces, and how to de-code them in others. The speaker, Dan Hill, will be taking a light-hearted approach to the scientific methodology of “facial coding” at the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis this Monday, June 25, at 7:30pm. After briefly introducing how breakthroughs in brain science have confirmed what everyone knows, that we’re primarily emotional decision-makers, he’ll explain how emotions get shown on our faces and then offer examples and everyday applications for this amazing information such as:

  • Romance (speed dating)
  • Candid camera moments of celebrities
  • Brand characters and icons
  • Presidential politics (’04 and ’08 races)
  • Poker faces

Directions to:
The Woman's Club of Minneapolis
410 Oak Grove Street
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Monday, June 18, 2007

Panel Disbars Duke Lacrosse Prosecutor

In a hearing before a disciplinary committee of the North Carolina State Bar Trial on June 16, 2007, District Attorney Mike Nifong gave an eight minute, 47 second statement on his behalf prior to being disbarred for his prosecution of three Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of rape. Was he truly repentant for engaging in what the committee considered to be dishonest and deceitful conduct, including lying to the court and withholding critical DNA test results?

Let's go to the video tape.

While the committee chair is asking Nifong if there is "Anything else you might want to say to the members of the panel?" Nifong shows disgust, sadness but also fear. Knowing that judgment on losing his license is at hand, Nifong reveals fear for the one key time during his statement.

Nifong says, "Much of the criticism directed against me in this case has been justified." Despite the conciliatory remark, however, his face shows a more mixed response – including contempt, disgust, anger and sadness. The contempt is notable for suggesting that he doesn’t regard the criticism as justified.

In contrast, Nifong now adds that "The allegations, however," that I am a liar are not justified." Here he shows anger only, and is if anything more repentant than in the comment of a moment earlier.

As he asserts that he "never misrepresented," and was raised "to do right" anger gives way to increasing degrees of sadness. He’s obviously shattered by having ruined the image of his character.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Clinton, Obama, and Giuliani

Clinton & Obama

This excerpt from the Democratic presidential candidates' debate held on June 3rd, 2007. The excerpt shows Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's responses after John Edwards has sharply criticized them for not being more outspoken against the war in Iraq on the floor of the Senate.

As you can see here, Hillary Clinton started with a full, social smile, seeking to negate Edwards' attack. Very soon after the smile starts fading. The way the smile turns into a grimace as it fades betrays the extent to which it was not a true smile to begin with.

At the same time, Barack Obama showed some anger and dismissal. Obama turns his head away from Edwards and his lips appear to tighten together in a slight sign of frustration with Edwards' attack.


This excerpt from the Republican presidential candidates debate held on June 5th, 2007. the excerpt shows Rudolph Giuliani's reaction after being read a quote in which a Rhode Island priest has compared Giuliani's position on abortion to Pontius Pilate's personal opposition to the crucifixion Jesus Christ but allowing him to die anyway.

First, note that the normal resting position of Giuliani's mouth is in the form of a disgust reaction with the corners of the mouth turned down (top photo). In the middle of this question, he shows a look of frustration (2nd photo). The 3rd photo shows very intense anger with the lips pressed firmly together while looking down shows signs of sadness. Giuliani finally settles on a smile toward the end of the question (bottom photo).

Thursday, June 7, 2007

It's a new blog!!!

Welcome to the Face of the Week blog. Every week we will analyze some of the facial expressions displayed by people in the current news and media. It should be fun, interesting, and unique. So please be sure to check back each week to see what's new in the Face of the Week.