Monday, March 14, 2005
Microexpressions -- Test Yourself
at 9:39 AM
A micro expression of fear
A microexpression is a flash of emotion that tells what you are really feeling. For instance, if you ask someone how they are feeling and they reply they are doing great, when let's say they are dying inside, people who can see microexpressions will potentially see a flash of pain or fear or sadness, regardless of what this person is actually saying.
In essence, your face has a natural lie detector built right in, which may indicate that you are being deceptive. And guess what, no matter how hard you try, you can't fake it out or stop your true expressions from flashing themselves. They are involuntary.
Isn't that wild?
But it is important to know that not all situations cause people to flash microexpressions. It's just one piece of the detection puzzle.
Microexpressions may appear in the middle of a fake expression for an instant or a flash.
Even more interesting is that when you make a fake smile, you don't use the same muscles you use when you genuinely smile. Isn't that bizarre? The muscles you use for a fake smile are completely different. If I ask you to genuinely smile for me when you are not happy, guess what, you can't do it. The smile will not be the same.
I find that fascinating!!
Before I knew microexpressions existed, I never noticed them (consciously, I suspect). Then once I heard about them, I suddenly noticed them all the time, as if someone turned the lights on. I'll never forget the first one I was conscious about: I saw Scott Peterson flash an excited microexpression to Barbara Walters when she asked him a question. Instead of answering the question excitedly, he played the sad, downer-guy denying her the truth. It was clear as day what his true feelings were, and they didn't match what he had just said and the expressed emotion on his face. He couldn't hide them--just most people didn't see it.
I believe I have always seen microexpressions and registered them, but I wasn't consciously aware of them. I think for years, I have innately processed this information in my subconscious mind without ever being consciously aware of how I knew what I knew. I just knew it. (Finally, my world is making sense!!!)
In an odd twist, just because someone tells you microexpressions exist doesn't mean you will see them like I do. I think in real life only handful of people out of 100 actually see microexpressions without training. Most people are oblivious to them. It's not a common trait most people possess: the ability to see microexpressions.
When I saw the Scott Peterson microexpression, I asked my husband to see if he saw it. He missed it. Since that time, I have taped shows and I rewind them and repeatedly replay microexpressions to my husband and no matter what I do, he doesn't see them. For some people to see them, you must slow them down.
So, do you want to test your ability to work with and identify microexpressions?
I'll warn you: This test is difficult. I believe it was difficult because all other verbal clues and hints from the face and body are stripped away. You have to solely rely on the face to do this test -- and that is challenging. I am used to processing lots of clues and not just focusing in on one. Yet I think I scored 6 out of 10 on this test (I was too busy taking it and I didn't keep score but I think I remember missing 4).
See how you can do... Good luck!
Facial Expressions Test
I would say the microexpressions that I see consciously assist me in deception detection about 8-10% of the time. I wonder if I register a lot more subconsciously.
See a new poll taken by my readers. It asks them what they think are the biggest clues to deception for me. Here is what I think are my biggest clues.