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What Is Dick Cheney Trying to Tell Us?

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In the new Showtime documentary The World According to Dick Cheney, the ex-veep has plenty to say about 9/11, his former boss, and his legacy. And then there’s what he conveys with his uniquely expressive mug. Chris Kowal, a Purdue University professor who studies how faces convey emotions, provides a breakdown.


“This image fascinates me. If you just look at his left side, his nostril is open in a flared way, and we see his teeth are grinding a little bit—what we’re seeing there is almost a display of contempt. But on the other side, the side of the face that is the pro-social side, which displays the emotion we want to show to the world, it’s a different type of expression. It’s neutral.”


“His head is tilted forward, his forehead is wrinkled, and his mouth is slightly opened. We might say he’s displaying desire, but his eyes aren’t dilated. Instead, there’s a reflection of thoughtfulness going on in his face, as if it’s a question he wasn’t prepared for, but is pleasantly pleased with.”


“This is definitely pride. His lips are up slightly, his mouth is tight, and you can see a smile within his eyes. You can also see the wrinkles have faded. He’s very satisfied with himself.”

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