Microexpressions, emotions, and facial expressions
July 21, 2008 11:09pm CST
Reading up on anger management I came across a scientific study that I first found in the book Blink. One section of the book talks about involuntary facial expressions called microexpressions - you can fake an expression to attempt to deceive people, but there is always an expression that happens that you have no control over. It displays itself on a person's face for less than a second, and betrays what you really feel about the situation or question being asked. Many times a video has to be slowed down in order to see it, but some people are very good at spotting the quick moments of truth. One group of researchers, (Paul Eckman, for one) were cataloging various facial muscle activations and grouping them, making kind of like an atlas of human emotion on the face. For example, one group of muscles raises the inner ends of the eyebrows up toward the forehead. The action can be observed most easily in babies, just before they start to cry. Another example - a fake smile involve only the lips - a genuine smile is shown on the entire face. While they were researching, they were trying various faces to determine their corresponding emotion, and reported that one night they were feeling very down. They looked into it further (and I tried it on myself) - your emotions are tied into your face. You could be the happiest person alive, but if you practice making faces that show negative emotion, you will not be happy for very long. Come to think of it, I remember a suggestion by someone to laugh every once in a while daily for a longer life ...
22 Jul 08
Thanks for sharing a very interesting topic. I do agree and have noticed sometimes the microexpressions in people while having a one to one discussion or talk with them. It does show up a little more in some people more strongly than others. I do remember having read about using this technique while interrogating people to determine whether they are telling the truth or not. There are people who even try to control these micro expressions, but it is very difficult to do.
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