Micro Expressions and gut feelings
Micro expressions are brief and involuntary muscle movements within the face. They last less than a second and it’s why many people have difficulty in noticing them. You probably know the feeling when you just know that somebody is not telling the truth. What we perceive in such situations is coming more from our gut feeling, and therefor not evidence-based, that the person is not really saying what they are thinking. This is an intuitive feeling that the person is somehow contradicting her words with what is happening on her face. If you would learn how to read micro expressions, you can identify more precisely which emotions they are displaying.
Can we control micro expressions?
The muscle movements of our face contract involuntary when we experience emotions. Most people cannot control those subtle movements. Good poker players are able to suppress showing emotions, but you can notice a difference on the face when the person is just displaying a natural, neutral face or a poker face. When someone is showing a poker face it means that there is something he wants to hide and you can observe them more closely until he finally reveals some signs on the face or through his body language. There is always a difference between not showing emotions because you don’t feel them and showing a poker face.
Some people are more aware about the impression they can give by trying to mask one emotion with the other one. Shy people smile to cover uncertainty and fear. They want to look relaxed and create a better rapport. However an artificial smile has a different meaning than a real, authentic smile and they don’t get the same answer. Even a dog can see when the smile is fake and starts barking because for him this is an indication of showing teeth in aggression. In certain situations people try to show surprise instead of the fear which they feel. An afraid open mouth is easy to cover with a surprised open mouth. Nevertheless, the stimulus to mask surprise often comes after you have already experienced fear and after training in Micro Expressions Training Videos you can notice these exact moments on the face.
There is more…
When you try to fake emotions they will appear on your face later than when you really feel them. Experiencing real emotions first means you show them spontaneously, then you react verbally. Faking emotion looks like a movie in slower speed, it takes longer to imitate them. Good actors are not faking emotions but really experience the role they are playing, that’s why they seem to be so real. And then there are of course people who just don’t feel and/or don’t show strong emotions at all. To know in which category someone fits, and to know how to interpret what you are seeing (or not seeing), is a skill that requires experience. It the same with training muscles. Training how to read micro expressions is like going to the emotional intelligence fitness. The more you do it, the better you become at it.
Fancy doing a free micro expressions test to see just how good you are at detecting them?
Courtesy of Kasia Wezowski Micro Expressions TV