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MICRO EXPRESSIONS COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS 1) Seeing a micro expression automatically means that a person is lying Micro expressions occur

r when people are trying to conceal their emotions, most often in high stakes situations. When you see a micro expression, dont automatically assume that the person who gave off the micro is lying. The first thing you need to do is establish a baseline: ask yourself what the persons normal behavior is. If you indeed notice a hot spot (where their verbal actions contradicts their nonverbal actions), you need to stop and ask more questions. Dont automatically assume that what they are saying is a lie. 2) Micro expressions include the following: Rate that the person is blinking Direction their eyes are moving Restlessness Heavy breathing

All of the above actions are great examples of nonverbal behaviour which may be indicative that someone is lying, but are not micro expressions. While micro expressions are one type of nonverbal behavior that occurs on the face, they do not involve how frequently a person blinks or how heavy their breathing is. Micro expressions commonly represent the seven basic emotions: happiness, fear, sadness, anger, contempt, disgust and surprise. They occur as fast as 1/25 of a second. 3) Only Truth Wizards can see micro expressions These truth wizards that were discovered by Maureen OSullivan during her Wizards Project were a select group of people that were particularly good at detecting deception. You dont have to be a wizard to see micro expressions. Anyone can learn to see micro expressions, especially if they get the proper training. (

SDL Behavioural Science Consultancy - Non-Verbal Behaviour Analysts Micro Expressions Common Misconceptions Notes from

4) Micro expressions were discovered recently Micro expressions were first discovered by Haggard and Isaacs over 40 years ago. They published a report on these expressions, which they called micromomentary expressions in 1966. The article they wrote was entitled Micro-momentary facial expressions as indicators of ego mechanisms in psychotherapy. Many subsequent studies have been conducted based on the research by Haggard and Isaacs, but the discovery of micro expressions should be attributed to them. 5) Only psychologists study and use micro expressions While it is true that many studies regarding micro expressions have been conducted by psychologists, the knowledge of micro expressions can be used in a wide variety of professions. In general, anyone who engages in face to face interaction with other people can benefit from micro expression training. Law enforcement agents, teachers, lawyers, doctors and sport coaches are just a few professions that can use this knowledge to work smarter, relate better and know what others are really feeling. 6) Micro expressions are culturally dependent It has been proven by many empirical studies published in scientific, peer reviewed journals that the seven basic emotions of happiness, contempt, sadness, fear, surprise, anger and disgust are universal and not culturally specific. Similarly, micro expressions are not culturally dependent. Everyone gives off micro expressions, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity and they cannot be faked. Dont forget that people usually illicit these emotions in high stakes situations - when they have something to lose or gain or when they are under great amounts of stress or anxiety. 7) Micro expressions are the key to detecting deception According to studies, 65-95% of most messages are communicated nonverbally. Of this 65-95%, most leakage occurs in the face. Micro expressions are only one type of nonverbal communication and can be helpful in detecting deception. However, a recent empirical study conducted by Warren et al and published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior suggests that subtle expressions, not micro expressions, were positively correlated with lie detection. This research suggests that subtle expression training is perhaps the next step in learning how to spot liars. (

SDL Behavioural Science Consultancy - Non-Verbal Behaviour Analysts Micro Expressions Common Misconceptions Notes from