Friday, August 17, 2007
TSA Behavior Detection Officers
at 8:21 AM
Patti Davis, the author, gives her opinion without taking the time to educate herself in the theory of microexpressions. Instead, she spouts off like an uneducated fool afraid of what she doesn't know. I would expect more from Newsweek magazine.
Davis writes a brief description of microexpressions, but obviously doesn't understand the meaning of the word "concealed" and how it applies to microexpressions:
In the study of “micro-expressions”—yes, it is actually a field of study and there are some who are arrogant enough to call it a science—it has been decided that when people wish to conceal emotions, the truth of their feelings is revealed in facial flashes. These experts have determined that fear and disgust are the key things to look for because they can hint of deception.Davis seems to think that if you have a bad day and are not happy -- or perhaps are flying to a funeral for a family member, the Behavior Detection Officers are going to nab you.
...what about the woman who is getting on a plane to see a dying relative? Or the man who is traveling to another state to see a cancer specialist in a last bid for extending his life? What about the guy who just had a fight with his spouse and now worries that a plane crash would mean their last words were in anger? We’ve all had the experience of having a bad day, being in a rotten mood—especially at the airport, which has become a modern-day chamber or [sic] horrors. On those days, doesn’t it seem like everyone we meet looks sour and unpleasant?Davis does not connect the dots that the people she just described have no reason to conceal emotions.
If a woman is getting on a plane to see a dying friend, she will likely feel sadness. She isn't going to try and act like this is the happiest day of her life now, is she? She has no reason to conceal anything.
Take as well the man who is traveling to another state to see a cancer specialist in a last bid to extend his life. He, too, will have genuine feelings of sadness and perhaps fear, but he also has no reason to conceal his feelings either. We can pretty much bet this man has only one thing on his mind: survival. He is not going to be role-playing some deceptive scheme.
As for the poor guy who had a fight with his wife before boarding the plane and is afraid of crashing, he isn't going to put on an act either. He will likely be silent in his thoughts and regrets, and those emotions, whether he is consciously aware of it or not, will be displayed on his face in a natural progressive order. He won't leak out expressions in micro-bursts that are inconsistent with what he is feeling, for Pete's sake.
These are not people who would tip off someone who can read and is properly trained in seeing microexpressions but Davis didn't do her homework.
All people feel and express emotions on their face pretty continuously during waking hours. That is normal and nothing that should set off a TSA officer. You should be able to smile, cry, pout, weep and even be afraid without worry that you are going to set off well-trained personnel.
Then what are these Behavior Detection Officers looking for? Do you really have something to worry about? It's not likely.
Someone who sees microexpressions will be looking for the guy who is showing inconsistencies in emotions, and behavior. For example, he will look for a guy who is acting jovial, yet strangely preoccupied and flashes an expression of disgust or fear across his face simultaneously.
I am happy to report the average person will not be this complex. They likely won't have the conflicting behaviors and emotions that cause microexpressions. It is only the guy who is trying to conceal his true feelings that will leak clues, unconsciously. Microexpressions are not voluntary behaviors.
It is the inconsistent micro-burst expressions lasting 1/25th of a second that should set off the TSA Behavior Detection Officers.
If I offered you the lottery to make a microexpression right now on demand, I can stand with 100% confident that you couldn't do it. It's not that simple, folks.
As with all things new and not understood, fear and anger are common defenses until the unknown becomes familiar, and the value of something new becomes recognized.