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Micro Expressions Show Human Emotions and Feelings

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    Micro-expressions are brief, involuntary facial expressions caused by a certain emotion experienced by the person. These expressions are shown on the face, and are universal in the sense that every human being, no matter what origin, or where they live it will be the same as everyone else. These expressions are also known for their difficulty in hiding them. They usually show one of the seven basic universal emotions: Disgust, anger, fear, sadness, happiness, surprise and contempt. (John) The study of Micro-expressions hasn’t been around for very long. They were first discovered by psychologists Haggard and Isaacs in 1966. Humantill). In there study they stated that they discovered these “micro-momentary” facial expressions while watching tapes of sessions between psychologist and patient, when they were looking for communication between them that was non-verbal. A few years later in 1969, Ekman and Friesen started including micro-expressions in there studies. (Humantill) They included there findings in the book “Telling Lies” (1985). Although these findings were reported in the mid to late 1960’s, the first time micro-expressions were included in a scientific article stating they exist was by Porter and ten Brinke in 2008 (Humantill).

    Micro-expressions are controlled by the muscles frontalis, corregator and risorius in the face. These movements are fractions of a second long, around 1/25 to 1/15 of a second. (ScienceDaily) The muscles are almost impossible to control, and being able to detect them is just as hard. Paul Ekman is known as the for-leading Psychologist that studies these micro-expressions (Humantill). These glimpses into the person’s true emotions are sometimes caught on camera when the subject is being them self and becoming a happier individual for the shot.

    When asked to smile or act happy, a subject cannot provide a natural, unique facial expression that has absolutely no micro-expressions present. When the subject feels open and in a friendly, inviting environment, they can produce an actual expression with the micro-expressions. This produces a image of a being showing the underlying expressions which are being shown through a natural expression. (John). Is this a good thing? Maybe, or maybe not. It could perhaps cause fear or vulnerability in the subject leading them to realise that their true feelings are being captured for more than just themselves to view.

    This situation could make the subject uncomfortable, or just make it feel like they can actually open up and be more of themselves. By asking more personal questions, the capturer can open up the persons life making the micro-expressions come forth and be shown. The mood of the photo shoot could be changed just by asking the simplest of questions, triggering a stimulus. If the subject attempts to act normal and cover up the underlying truth, the micro-expressions pop out and the photographer could tell that they are lying. John) Mark Frank, a professor of communication, has contrived systems to recognize and authentically read the (un)conscious behavioral cues that suggest lying. Frank’s research is used by investigation services all over the world, and Frank says, “It can be applied to the training of security checkpoint personnel to help them identify and decode ‘hot spots,’ the subtle conversational cues and fleeting flashes of expression that betray buried emotions or suggest lines of additional inquiry. (ScienceDaily) Frank adds in that a lot of his research has refined Darwin’s realisations about the evolutionarily-founded nature of feels/emotions and its ways of being seen. The ways of viewing expressions is key to helping stop terrorism and crime. By using the many ways to identify distrust and deceit, such as frowns, wrinkles, eyebrows, and smirks, police, judges, and FBI workers can use the techniques of identifying micro-expressions to see whether or not a criminal (or terrorist) is lying, or trying to hide something.

    Unless they have had extensive training, this would be a difficult test to pass. In court, Mark Frank has been hired by judges to help them identify the liars from the honest suspects. (ScienceDaily) When the viewer sees a person’s face, then notice the obvious things; eyes, smile, nose, and general expression with the added micro-expression here and there. When you view a liars face, however, you see more than just that. In some cases, you’ll see a person suppressing information and trying to keep from their secrets.

    This causes an unusual appearance and shows many micro-expressions from hiding the truth of their feelings. Sometimes, a micro-expression can show that something isn’t right in a situation. For example; an interrogation. If the suspect is obviously holding back on something and micro-expressions are written all over their face, they are hiding something or something is amiss. This could lead to finding out that a person is being forced to hide facts. (Maureen, 2009). To train to be able to see micro-expressions means practicing looking at people when asking questions and having general conversation.

    You would have to learn how to distinguish the little flaws in a person’s expression, such as no wrinkling of the eyes when smiling. A true smile would show over the entire face, but not look too exaggerated. If there is too much teeth, wrinkles, and overwhelming appearence of happiness, something might be out of place. They could be purposefully making that expression to ensure you wouldn’t notice if they had just half-smiled. If they are smiling but have a sad look to the rest of their face, the person is probably covering up their feelings and something is wrong.

    Micro-expressions are used by everyone day-to-day even if we don’t notice them in others. They are simple, slight gestures of the face which if picked up on, can show that something is clearly wrong. They are useful in investigations, and courts all over the world to help stop crime. Micro-expressions can also be useful to you, in that you could help a friend out by cheering them up if something seems wrong underneath their smiles. By learning micro-expressions, communication can also be easier and help the general population out by seeing the feelings that lie underneath.

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