Body language expert says Bill Cosby's mugshot is 'the epitome of defeat'

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Elise Solé
·2 min read
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Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby’s mugshot. (Photo: Montgomery County Correctional Facility/Shutterstock)

After Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for sexual assault, his mugshot went viral for his downtrodden expression.

The photo was taken by the Montgomery County Correctional Facility and released shortly after Judge Steven O’Neill found Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004, and shows the former actor looking downcast and avoiding eye contact with the camera.

On Twitter, people called Cosby’s mugshot “sad,” however, according to body language expert Susan Constantine, who trains law enforcement and intelligence agencies on deception, the pic illustrates the depth of his downfall.

“Bill Cosby seems lifeless and wilted as he collapses in front of the camera,” Constantine tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “His head is cast downward, his eyes are at half-mast, and his cheeks seem to be melting off his face — that’s associated with shame and despair. It’s the epitome of defeat.”

The mugshot represents a world of difference from Cosby’s mood earlier on Tuesday. When the 82-year-old arrived at the Montgomery County (Pa.) courthouse, he smiled at photographers and, according to Page Six, erupted in laughter after the judge announced his sentence. Cosby was also seen “cracking jokes” with his team before he was taken into custody.

Bill Cosby was sentenced to prison for three to 10 years for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. (Photo: Getty Images)
Bill Cosby was sentenced to prison for three to 10 years for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. (Photo: Getty Images)

Cosby’s carefree attitude could be compared to that of Harvey Weinstein, who was also photographed smiling and laughing while being handcuffed on charges of sexual assault. “Those moments can be attributed to a phenomenon called the ‘Duping Delight,’” says Constantine.

Conceived by influential psychologist Paul Ekman, the “Duping Delight” is an inappropriate emotion described on his website as the “near irresistible thrill some people feel in taking a risk and getting away with it. Sometimes it includes contempt for the target who is being so ruthlessly and successfully exploited. It is hard to contain duping delight; those who feel it want to share their accomplishments with others, seeking admiration for their exploits.”

“It’s a physiological response, like a rush of adrenalin, that can occur when a person is congratulating themselves for deceiving others,” says Constantine. “It can also be a way of blowing off steam from a stressful situation. We saw it in the Casey Anthony and Charles Manson cases.”

One adjective Constantine doesn’t associate with Cosby’s viral mugshot is “sad” noting, “He seems more depleted. For some people, there’s little barometer for how their actions affect others. They will always be the victim.”


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