Why study micro expressions and the face? This is a great question, one that I’ve been asked a number of times. Of course, the face is only one of the five channels of communication; however it’s often the one that we gain the most information from. True felt emotions and expressions occur involuntarily, without thought or intention. False ones have to be put up. The face is a duel system, showing both and sometimes making a blended expression. Expressions are likely to be false when they are asymmetrical, the duration of expression is either too long or too short, or the timing of the expression in relation to the speech is not synchronised (Ekman, 2009).
The face can be a valuable source for the lie catcher, because it can lie and tell the truth and often does both at the same time.
Some real life applications of learning micro expressions includes:
Public Sector & Business: Transport and border protection security, any behavioural assessment and analysis, screening, surveillance, passenger assessments, special audits, face to face negotiations, security, forensic investigations, audits, corporate investigations, counter intelligence, detective training, internal investigations, behavioural interviews, assessing credibility, development of leadership skills, relationship management, negotiation skills plus so much more.
Family & Relationships: Understanding expressions help with communication, identifying truly felt emotions, spotting when someone close to you is upset / angry / disgusted etc, recognising that a teenager or partner is hiding something…
How Can Learning Microexpressions Help People? (From Humintell’s website)
Many of us know that being able to recognize micro expressions can aid in detection deception; therefore, it is a technique that is being more widely used in government organizations and law enforcement. However, micro expressions can be beneficial in a wide variety of fields such as education, global business traveling, studying abroad, the health industry and much more.
A micro expression training tool can also be a non-pharmacological intervention technique to treat individuals who are affected by certain disorders such as schizophrenia as well as treating social disabilities.
There has been much emotion training literature that has been focused on training people with developmental or social disabilities, including individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome (e.g., Barnhill, Cook, Tebbenkamp, & Myles, 2002), Autism (Bolte, Hubl, Feineis-Matthews, Prvulovic, Dierks, & Poustka, 2006; Solomon, Goodlin-Jones, & Anders, 2004), mental retardation (McAlpine, Singh, Ellis, & Kendall, 1992; Stewart & Singh, 1995), to individuals with acquired brain injury (Guercio, Podolska-Schroeder, & Rehfeldt, 2004).