Follow up: A Mother’s Emotional Plea

In a previous blog post we asked you to analyze the nonverbal behavior of  a mother’s emotional appeal to find her missing daughter.

There were mixed comments regarding her behavior, as some said she seemed suspicious and others claimed see seemed to be telling the truth.

This mother’s real name is Coral Jones and her daughter April Jones disappeared on October 1, 2012 after being sighted willingly getting into a van near her home. A man by the name of Mark Bridger was subsequently arrested and charged with Jones’s abduction and murder.

In her emotional plea, it is difficult to see Coral’s eyebrow movement while she is speaking because of her bangs but if you look closely, as she is pleading for her daughter’s return you see genuine marks of sadness with the brows coming up and together. Her voice also cracks from the overwhelming sense of emotion. You don’t see any hot spots such as smiles or smirks. She’s telling the truth.

Take a look at the video once again:

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For more practice with exercises like these, take a look at these past blog posts:

Revisiting Genuine vs Fake Emotions

Follow up to Truth Tellers and Liars

Follow up to Truth and Deception: Hone Your Skills

One response to “Follow up: A Mother’s Emotional Plea”

  1. Keith D. says:

    I agree that the emotions shown in the video were genuine, although they weren’t enough on their own to suggest she might not have had anything to do with her daughter’s disappearance. While her sadness was clearly genuine, a guilty person may also show sadness due to remorse over their involvement in the case just as an innocent person might feel the same sadness as they might feel they’ve come up short as a good parent. I think this video is a good example of why behavioral evidence alone isn’t always enough to reach a conclusion, and why good old-fashioned, proper police investigation is still necessary.

    In addition to her genuine sadness, I also noted that she appeared to withdraw into herself, suggesting a feeling of inadequacy or guilt (which in a case like this can point to either involvement OR innocence, as was the case with this poor mother), and that despite feeling vulnerable and drawing her arms in to cover herself when she broke down following her plea, when offered comfort by the man seated next to her, she didn’t seem to move into his offer of comfort as some people would, and instead just remained isolated within her body language– which to me also suggest that she was perhaps feeling guilty and/or inadequate as a mother (again, natural feelings that an innocent mother might go through under her circumstances). Of course, I don’t think my interpretation is one that science has cataloged, confirmed, or denied (so far?), but it’s what I see when I watch this plea for help.

    The poor woman! I’m glad they were apparently able to capture her daughter’s killer so quickly.

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