For those of you who have read my previous post on reading faces, here’s something extra to ponder about: micro-expressions. If you took the test that I posted about last time, then you are probably familiar with basic facial expressions.
However, there are complexities within the human face which allow us to express more than just a simple slated set of emotions. After all, we’re complex enough to feel more than one emotion at once, why wouldn’t we be able to show those emotions?
The top and the bottom of the face both have the ability to express. As you can see in the table below, things can start to get out of hand when you are trying to read all different parts of a face.
Imagine trying to read this kind of range of facial expressions within half a second. That’s the problem with micro-expressions: not many of us have the ability to read the subtlety of the human face with accuracy quickly. However, this also makes them incredibly powerful.
Imagine how effective we could be in our communications if everyone knew exactly how everyone else felt. Imagine that kind of emotional connection and recognition that could develop throughout society.
It has been said that a person’s face can never lie. In fact, this science is the premise behind popular Fox TV show Lie to Me. Yet, without the trained ability to read these quick little signs of emotion, we might never truly know what someone is thinking.