Politicians, it seems, have but one default "disgrace face." TheNew York Timesdescribes it as: "Lips pursed, pulled tight, and narrowed. The chin boss — the fleshy bump above the chin bone — is pushed upward, pulling the lips into an upside-down smile. Add a downward-cast gaze, perhaps a shake of the head, and: Instant Disgraced Pol." Dan Hill, the president of Sensory Logic, a market firm that analyzes facial expressions, goes even further. Read his full analysis after the jump.
"Lips pursed and pulled tight is a sign of anger. Anger as an emotion typically means you feel like you’re not in control of circumstances. It arises from lack of progress, confusion, feelings that one’s being dealt with unfairly, i.e. resentment. These are powerful men used to being in charge. So it likely signifies feeling vulnerable (not in control). The chin raiser, where the chin boss pushes upward, causing the lower lip to push upward, could also be called an upside-down smile. It’s a muscle movement implicated in expressions of anger, disgust and sadness. Disgust is an emotion that relates back, in evolutionary terms, to 'bad taste' or 'bad smell.' The bad-taste version is as if to protect the mouth from taking in something that is poisonous. Clearly, these scandals are (sometimes fatally) poisonous to the politicians’ careers. It’s as if the whiff of scandal tastes bad to them. Eyes and head down both correspond to sadness, i.e., disappointment in oneself. Regret. Like disgust, it’s a sign of withdrawal, as if to remove oneself from what has caused shame or embarrassment. The basic package you’ve got here is anger, disgust and sadness."
From top, left: Anthony Weiner, former Governor James McGreevy of New Jersey,, former Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York, former Representative Eric J Massa of New York, President Bill Clinton, and former Senator John Ensign of Nevada.