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?