Jared Loughner: Contempt or Posed Smile?

Last week, new mug shots of Jared Loughner were released by the US Marshals Service. Loughner, the gunman accused in the brutal Arizona shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, shocked the nation with his original mug shot and his maniacal grin.

These recent images, which were taken three days after the shooting in Phoenix, shows Loughner with what looks to be like a unilateral contempt expression on his left side.

Contempt is a universal expression and is the emotion of moral superiority.

However, it is difficult to distinguish whether Loughner’s mug shot is a contempt expression or a posed smile since it is a still photo. Remember- photos only represent a fraction in time. It is often difficult to determine the emotional state of an individual for this reason.

Dr. Matsumoto states, “Sure, it looks like contempt. But the problem is that it is a still photo and it could be the way he poses smiles.  Posed expressions are more asymmetrical than spontaneous expressions, especially smiles. If it’s a social smile that’s asymmetrical like this, then I think of it as a smirk. But whether it’s the emotion of contempt is really debatable because we can’t see the expression’s timing characteristics”

Whether Loughner’s latest photos show him being contemptuous or smirking, they are eerie all the same.

What do you see when you view these photos?

4 responses to “Jared Loughner: Contempt or Posed Smile?”

  1. Jeff V. says:

    I would say total contempt. But it’s also a smug enjoyment contempt. He’s clearly proud of what he’s done and probably enjoying the fact that they’re spending time on him. In the side photo it almost looks as though he’s about to laugh. I think there are clearly some mental health issues involved here.

  2. Keith D. says:

    Honestly, to me it looks like someone who is mentally ill, even without taking into account what he did. He looks like someone who is quietly snickering about something a voice only he can hear has told him. It’s really sad.

  3. I’m curious to know if he had a case of bells palsy. The left side of his face near is eye area is more hooded and the lips are off. When a person smiles with bells palsy once side of lips may look more stretched out than the other side because of the slackening of the muscle. It may look more outward stretched than curved up. Also his nose is off-center, more curved to the right. Whether this is because of a broken nose or curved septum I don’t know but I do know that it also gives the appearance of a more asymmetrical look.
    As to his appearance it looks like hes detached and in his own mind remembering something vaguely humorous and likes hes prideful of something. I’m surprised his chin isn’t raised more.

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