We recognize emotions in our own faces more readily than in others. If you can’t then something may be very wrong with your brain. So reported neuroscientists this weekend at their conference here in San Francisco.
Researchers took photos of people who were asked to feign the universally-expressed emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, disgust and fear. Weeks later they were asked to look at the mix of photos of themselves and others. They were more accurate in detecting the true emotion in their own face than in others.
An odd conclusion one can draw from this is that it is easier to fool others when faking an expression than to fool yourself. That makes sense since smiling when you are down is one proven way to lift yourself out of a funk and make others feel better around you. (Few notice your underlying feeling.) Also, it’s worth learning to read other’s facial expressions for many reasons - from knowing how to best connect in the moment to experiencing empathy.
Those universally-expressed emotions were discovered by Paul Ekman. He became an expert on reading faces by spending more than a year exploring his own, muscle by muscle, until he learned to read the fleeting micro-expressions described in Blink. Now he’s the consultant on a new TV series, Lie to Me.
For more on understanding behavior by facial expressions, consider reading ….
1. Paul Ekman’s newsletter
2. What Parts of a Face Most Influence First Impressions?
3. Happy Face?
4. How to Improve Your LikeAbility
5. Spitting Mad: Getting Wired for War Online and on the Battlefield?
6. Become the Unforgettable "Face" of Your Organization
7. Morphing the Female Face Over 500 Years
8. Without Words, What Are You Telling the World?