If you've ever watched "Lie to Me" on Fox, you'll be familiar with the practice of deception detection by comparing our microfacial expressions and body language with what we actually say. Susan Constantine is a body language expert here in Central Florida. I asked her to review the Burke interviews.
Regarding Catherine's interview on WESH, Ms. Constantine provided the following assessment:
- Mrs. Burke shows sadness in all regions of the face. The forehead shows distress, her eyebrow angles up in the inner corners, and down on the sides. The mouth's outer corners are slightly turned down in sadness. It is my opinion she is dealing with sadness and anxiety. Anxiety is shown in the shifting of the eyes back and forth from side to side, rapidly. She is vulnerable, lonely, and insecure. What I don't see is anger. She warns women "not to" report domestic violence because the system is prohibiting her from having contact with her husband. She does not show anger with the system or the judge. If she were angry, her voice, and facial expressions would have been presented "as anger" (horizontal tight lips and eyelids would have narrowed with lower lid tightened). Therefore, her words and body language were incongruent. She is a target for repeat violence because she does not see what Shannon did as domestic violence. [emphasis mine] The battered wife syndrome causes one to soften the blow with soft words and voice to ward off the intruder (being the press) and, at the same time, she is manipulating the public opinion with her soft tone to protect her husband.
- She says she was not abused, then leans forward with an affirmative while nodding her head yes. This is an emblem. An emblem is a body movement gesture that has a universal meaning in the US. When she says she was not abused, she nods her head yes when it should have shook no. She was not confident that she convinced the reporter because she leans in to convince the reporter with an affirmative indicating she was not fearful.
- She stated "IF (meaning she was) I was abused, and I was not, but IF (meaning she was) I was" (at this time the corners of mouth went down in sadness). She does not believe her own story.
FOX35 interview with Amy Kaufeldt:
- His 3 corner leg stance is one of confidence. His left arm is stretched over the sofa in the direction of the reporter (this is a non-verbal hug of wanting approval). His body language betrays him with his right hand. He leaves his right hand placed near his groin, and is not visibly out front in an open body posture. The right hand is hidden as if he got his hand caught in the cookie jar (a "hiding something back" gesture).
- Shannon shoulder shrugs often. This is an emblem too. If he shrugged at the same time as saying "I don't know" this would have been believable although, he shrugs when his words are not consistent with his words "deceptive." He has a lot of anxiety.
- The most telling is when he was asked if he was dangerous. He answers a question with a question. "Have you ever known me to be dangerous?" This is a rhetorical devise of "deception." He should have said "no." He does not take ownership for his actions [emphasis mine] and uses another rhetorical device called "petty fogging" when he says this. One side corner of his mouth goes unilateral. This is "contempt" (moral superiority and duping delight gesture - this happens when he thinks he has pulled one over on you). The facial gesture appears and then he used a "petty fogging" rhetorical device again by diverting the audience away from the issues at hand to present himself in a positive light when shifting to telling the audience he fixed a clock at the park with his child.
- In my opinion, the judge made a good decision to keep them separated until they go through more counseling.