Dr. Paul Ekman is an American psychologist who is a pioneer in the study of emotions and their relation to facial expressions. Dr. Ekman created a ‘directory of emotions’ discovering well more than ten thousand facial expressions.
Dr. Ekman discovered only seven universally recognized microexpression relating to human emotions. These seven universal microexpressions are known across the globe without being prejudicious to culture.
The Seven Universal Microexpressions Are:
These microexpressions are seen on the face in as little as 1/25th of a second. They occur so quickly, it’s sometimes in less time than a blink of an eye. Microexpressions are usually signs of hidden emotions. They happen so fast that most of us don’t pick them up.
Darwin came up with the idea that microexpressions exist. He believed we can’t control these, even if we try. Dr. Ekman has been studying Darwin’s theory for well more than 25 years and today is considered the God Father of Body Language and Non-Verbal Communication.
Most people do not seem to perceive microexpressions in themselves or others. In the Wizards Project, Drs. Paul Ekman and Maureen O’Sullivan studied the ability of people to detect deception. Thousands of people were tested. Only a select few were able to accurately detect when someone was lying. Drs. Paul Ekman and Maureen O’Sullivan along with the Wizards Project researchers named these people “Truth Wizards“.
The Wizards Project has identified just over 50 people with this ability after testing nearly 20,000 people. Truth Wizards for a large part use microexpressions, among other cues, to determine if someone is being truthful.
Microexpressions are brief, fleeting expressions that we unconsciously use all the time. Dr. Ekman’s research implies that the average person tells up to three lies during any ten minute period. These could be lies about how we’re feeling, white lies about anything; social lies we tell during interaction that we find it necessary to tell in our everyday lives.
Try this for one full day –
Keep a small note pad (or better yet a voice recorder) handy and after each conversation you have with someone, privately make an honest assessment of what you said versus what you truly thought or felt.
Listen to what you’re saying, and compare it to what you’re really feeling (“I love hanging out with you,” “You look great when you first get up in the morning!” “I love your new shoes,” “I can’t wait to see you next week,” “This broccoli taste so good the way you prepared it”).
Now when you get home, review your notes and repeat what you said with the REAL feeling you had at the time out loud in a mirror. Really put yourself back in the conversation with the person you had it with originally. You could even video record yourself to watch in slow motion. Watch for the microexpressions on your face. Are they congruent with what you said?
Become Skilled In Reading MicroExpressions!
Most of us are not very skilled at reading microexpressions, even though reading microexpressions is wired in us and as part of our evolutionary history. In future articles and podcasts we will dive deeper into the importance of learning and recognizing facial microexpressions.
With practice and understanding it will amaze you what you can pick up on in a conversation with someone or even watching a conversation across a room between others. We will even dive into some of the methods of how to address when a microexpression is not congruent with what someone is saying. How cool is that!
Stay tuned for a lot more on this subject and in the mean time be sure to study as much as you can about microexpressions!
Until we visit again ...
Keep It Real and Always Live at Level 10,
- Mark Call
Truth Wizards Radio Podcast Host
'Certified' Body Language Trainer