Microexpressions: Unmasking the Face

Do you ever ponder what someone is really thinking? Have you ever wanted to read someone’s mind? After watching the first season of “Lie to Me,” I became increasingly fascinated with microexpressions. What are they you ask? They are brief, often involuntary facial expressions. Unlike regular facial expressions, micro-expressions are difficult to fake because of speed in which they occur. They can occur as fast as 1/25 of a second. When we communicate with others, we try to collect as much verbal and non-verbal information as possible without creeping the other person out. We also try to control the things we express to other people to gain perspective on the situation, protect ourselves from deception or embarrassment or to manipulate the other person. When looking for microexpressions in others, focus on the person’s face. Most muscle activity will occur around the eyes and mouth. In no time, you’ll be as good if not better than Tim Roth!

– Curtis Sindrey

Editor’s Note: I’m reading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, after it repeatedly being brought up in conversations with countless people, and it discusses how effective these microexpressions are.  It has an almost “butterfly effect” ability.  Charismatic people’s microexpressions travel through others and having the ability to change their moods.  It’s really interesting because body language gives us a lot of information in a conversation, microexpressions can say even more in these movements we hardly notice!

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