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Understanding Facial Expression

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Posted over 5 years ago

 

I was reading this article recently about Prof. Elkman's work as a pioneer in modern day facial expression recognition and was impressed not only by the content, but also how if effectively used, we can come up with innovative crime prevention strategies. You can read this incredible article by Siri Schubert here http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-look-tells-all Share your views on this after reading the article.

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Rated +2 | Posted over 5 years ago

 

I use facial and body expressions with the criminals that I deal with on a daily basis.  Working in the jail, the inmates have come to know my facial and body expressions and know what each one means.  This is a good way to deescalate what could be very chaotix situations. 

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Rated +1 | Posted over 5 years ago

 

That is good, and with someone like you who has to interact with criminals on a daily basis, it becomes even more important for you to horn you microexpression skills so that you can handle each situation effectively as it comes up. I'm sure officerd254 that you'll agree that we need to strive to understand facial expressions more and body posture in our quest to enforce and prevent crime in our communities.

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Rate This | Posted over 5 years ago

 

I strongly agree with that.

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Rate This | Posted over 5 years ago

 

Yeah officer254. I was even reminded by what you brought up ealier, when I was watching the video feed of the captured U.S. Soldier, PFC Bowe by Taliban forces, and his body language, posture, and the expressions he had on his face as he pleaded were just so astounding. One could tell a lot from watching that video. I hope our M.I. team members can infer some of those expressions and negotiate for his safe return to his family and friends.

Female_bodysurfer_max50

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Rated +1 | Posted over 5 years ago

 

Thanks for calling attention to the Scientific American article which I can hardly wait to read.  I should expect that inmates often use micro-expressions to 'converse' undetected during transport, say, from one part of a prison to another.  But maybe my notion of microexpression is too broad? The article will tell!  Thanks again BBishop!

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Rate This | Posted over 5 years ago

 

I do agree with Marly. Inmates most definitely use a lot of facial expressions and body postures to pass on messages amongst themselves when on transpot or even in prison houses. That is why (if I may take a leap on this one), we are often baffled by what inmates do to each other, or better still, why there's such a success of gang units in prison. Till we can fully comprehend the meanings of some of the postures and facial expressions that are used to transmit certain messages, we'll remain baffled by not just the chaos that exists not just in our prisons, but also the gradual rise in crime in our communities.

Female_bodysurfer_max50

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Rated +1 | Posted over 5 years ago

 

Correct me if I'm off-base here.  Prison 'small talk' hypothetical -


Staff is touring a civilian recently hired to work in admin.  Trustee #1 gets on the elevator with the new hire and becomes privvy to some conversation regarding the tour.  He remains silent and stoic.  As they exit the elevator and enter the kitchen, Trustee #2, stands nearby as the group passes.  Trustee #2 raises one eyebrow slightly to Trustee #1.  Trustee #1 simply tightens his jaw, pulls his chin in slightly and lowers his eyelids.  He glances upward a split second. 


Trustee #2: "New Hire/Inspection/Shake Down re: Kitchen?"


Trustee #1 (micro headshake dismissing the concern)  "No. Take it easy."  (eyes up) Another department located upper level."


The guard might or might not note this for use at a later time.


 

Female_bodysurfer_max50

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Rated +1 | Posted over 5 years ago

 

Have just finished reading the Scientific American article you mentioned.  Many things stood out.  Among them:


"Ekman discovered another interesting phenomenon after spending the day in his laboratory trying to reproduce a convincing look of sadness: that evening he realized that he was feeling depressed. He then found that if he spent time engaged in imitating the components that make up a smile, his mood lifted. "That was like an epiphany," he recalls. It contradicted the naive notion that feelings originate solely in the psyche and that the body merely communicates them outwardly"


I've heard actors describe the traditional approach - 'working from the outside in'.  This is the opposite of method-acting which 'works from inside out'.  Rather than dredge up a past experience get the emotion across, the facial muscles are set in position.   The actor explains "I put my face in the position to cry and the tears begin to flow naturally."


So, the interviewer might want to examine micro transitions of facial expressions?

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Rate This | Posted over 5 years ago

 

Maryl, I couldn't have given a more better example of how people can easily use microexpression and posture to hold a conversation. From the expressions you just gave, we see that Trustee#2 was really conncerned about who was touring the facility.  You nailed it. It's really interesting to see how we can communicate information without uttering a word or signing but just through the expressions we make.

Female_bodysurfer_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

BBishop, thank you for the training link you mentioned in your other thread here.  Going to check that out.  Sometimes I look at slow-motion footage of subjects in video documentaries.  The BBC's footage of key players in its 1995 documentary Heidi Fleiss Hollywood Madam is a good one.  You can switch between real time and slomo and see microexpressions such as your Scientific American article refers to.  


(I wish I could double check my instincts against LE expertise!)


RE: Scientific American article.  Ekman's research seems indicate that, while appreciating cultural diversity, our commonly shared emotional expressions are the real key to better understanding...


"To test his own hunch, Ekman headed for Brazil with a stack of photographs in his suitcase. The portraits showed sad, angry, happy or disgusted faces of white Americans, yet Brazilian college students had no trouble identifying the feelings depicted. Expeditions to Chile, Argentina and Japan generated the same results; regardless of where he went, local people seemed to understand, and use, the same facial expressions as the North Americans.


Concerned that perhaps inhabitants of "modern" societies had somehow cross-pollinated their facial movements, Ekman in 1967 visited extremely isolated tribes living in the jungles on the island of New Guinea. There again, though, he found that the basic emotions he had postulated, such as happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise and disgust, were associated with universal facial expressions. The excursion sealed it for him: the language of the face has biological origins, and culture has no significant effect on it"


 

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

You are welcome Marly. I think LEOs and everyone in general should have some training in microexpressions. Professor Ekman's work as a pioneer in this section is just amazing and the results are just remarkable. That is why I started this group, so we can share ideas and thoughts, and see how we can develop better strategies in fighting and preventing crime. I had the opportunity of watching that BBC documentary a few years back, and truly it would be a good training video for anyone ho wants to learn more about microexpressions. I'm really glad you brought that up. I'll see if i can get the video and hopefully get permission from the BBC to have it up in this forum as a training tool.


Like you mentioned. Ekman found out that the uniqueness about microexpressions is that it is inborn-innate in us. So no matter where you come from, our expression of anger, happiness, disgust, sadness, amongst others are all the same. People try to conceal emotions by masking their facial expressions, but microexpressions occur in split seconds that requires one to be really good at identifying them. LEOs who have some training in this will see a definite increase in the capability to communicate with offenders, and also tell when these offenders are lying.  As Ekman suggests, interogators who ask thier questions in a quick manner, with an element of surprise will always be able to infer the truth from the facial expressions and body posture of suspects.


 

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

You can defeat this system by role playing;  if the in "role" your playing, the person isn't lying, or angry, etc. then the body langauge, tonal inflictions, and even iris dilation can be manipulated to fall into line with the new "person".


Instead of trying to conceal your thoughts, you simply become the person or character that you want to project.   This is how a smart person lies, and it can be extremely effective.   Think of it as a game you lose yourself in temporarily.   They better you know a person, the harder it is for them to use this tactic, however some are quit adapt at this.  


Strangers can use this tactic very effectively, and someone who is good at it will feel completely at ease doing it...  and so will you as they lie to you!   Longer contact time and multiple contacts over time can help to defeat this tactic, but a great deal depends on the adaptiveness of the actor, or lack of.  


-Never lie when the truth would serve you better-

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

 


What officer254 said is true.  I work in a jail as well as on the street.  We have about 37 medium security DOC, 5 Minimum security DOC and a bunch of county inmates and just about everyone of them knows when my cheeks turn red somethings about to hit the fan.  I've learned to control my facial features but unfortunately that one i can't control


 


I've also learned to read the expressions and body language of the inmates that come in and out.

Mr-natural_1__max50

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

Not everyone can easily defeat detection by micro expression analysis. Maybe some character actors can, but only the naturals--it's not something that can be learned because its technically a personality disorder.




Bessie Braddock: “Sir, you are drunk.”
Churchill: “Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.”

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

I can't wait to read this artical. On the other hand I spent alot of my life reading people's body language expresions and behavior. It also helps me to be aware of my surroundings and what is cooking arround me. Even if I don't speak their language I am usualy pretty right about their body language. Has saved my life many times, and still does today. I live in a real bad neiborhood with gangs and always pray for GOD to watch my back. Heather


Heather Brewer

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

Always watch the eyes and hands.  The facial expressions and changes all give clues to put you on guard

Dressed_to_kill_max50

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

This is a critical factor in detecting deception. I think there should be more courses to assist the patrolman and investigators in pcking up on these tell tale signs.

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

caf34 says ...



Not everyone can easily defeat detection by micro expression analysis. Maybe some character actors can, but only the naturals--it's not something that can be learned because its technically a personality disorder.



 


Most can learn this,  you simply think as the the person you want to be would, and no more.  You "watch" in the background as you are along for the ride.  It takes practice to unlearn, but it works, and it's not too surprising considering that many of the primates are masters of deception, and indeed our distant ancestors survival hinged many times on deception of both friend and foe.    Undercover cops infiltrate by employing this technique.   


 


 


Most people are not self conscious of their body language, but some are.   They can be transparent and off the radar...  and have the potential to be exceedingly dangerous.  Yes, some of the criminal geniuses would definitely be considered to have personality disorders!


 


 

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

Sheriff_1 says ...



Always watch the eyes and hands.  The facial expressions and changes all give clues to put you on guard



The eyes are the windows to the soul...   and the hands are the it's actors.   Both give clues to what the person is about to do. 


    Someone looking at your chest maybe considering attacking you as it seems people tend to look at "center mass" when in this mode of thinking.

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

Sorry about that mess above.  I forgot that you can't copy off a Word document without gleening the padding too...  I miss my spell check!

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

It's good we are all takling the issues about microexpressions graciously. From the posts, I can see there are varying an interesting views on microexpression detection. Reading through them (the posts) there's the question of good mimickers beating the capability of detection by a microexpression analysts. I'll like to say while it's  undeniable that some people might manage to go undetected, it's not a deniable fact that microexpressions are inborn and an innate part of humans, that makes it dificult to hide especially when the true emotions are there.


The thing about microexpression is that, as noted by Ekman, is that the 42 muscles of the face create close to 10,000 expressions that becomes difficult to be learnt. Besides, when one is guilty of something, it becomes even more difficult to mimick another person's emotion as guilt builds tenseness in you that is hard to dismiss.


Again, an expert microexpression analyst takes split seconds to identify those emotions that are trying to be concealed by the individual. We must remember that these expressions occur in almost a flash, and as such any investigator must be very observant. To illustrate this point, I'll like participants in the forum to refer to the training link in one of the other topic discussions and watch the demo video to better understand what I mean. http://mettonline.com/ (here is the link again)

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

I may be mistaken, but I think that this is over simplifying the problems of reading another's thoughts.   A person who has become an effective role player should be near undetectable as they aren't lying while assuming their new personality and their micro gestures should fall into line.  That's what I think....  important stuff if your life depends on it.  


Being aware of the body language cues you are presenting others with can be just as important.   I use this technique when street shooting photos.  People can tell when you feel at ease and "belong", when you don't it provokes edgy reactions from them.   These are learned skills,  and ones that leo's can use.  They're tools, but not end all's. 


 

Mr-natural_1__max50

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

blackhawkimages says ...



I may be mistaken, but I think that this is over simplifying the problems of reading another's thoughts.   A person who has become an effective role player should be near undetectable as they aren't lying while assuming their new personality and their micro gestures should fall into line.  That's what I think....  important stuff if your life depends on it.  



This has been studied extensively by Ekman. When I was referring to natural character actors technically having a personality disorder, it was referring to that ability to "assume a new personality". Even under these circumstances, microexpressions don't completely "fall in line". Like BBishop said, these are involuntary impulses and there are numerous complexities involved. Anyone who thinks they can go undetected by an experienced microexpression analyst is likely in for a rude awakening.




Bessie Braddock: “Sir, you are drunk.”
Churchill: “Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.”

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Rated +1 | Posted about 5 years ago

 

 May I remind you blackhawkimages, that some one who has committed a crime no matter how good an actor they are, will not mimick others. It's like saying a criminal being taken to a trial will assume the role of the police officers taking him there. Remind you that being guilty changes the dynamics of your individuality thereby limiting you in most ways. When you are guilty, trying to act like another person becomes the least of your concerns.


 

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

BBishop says ...



When you are guilty, trying to act like another person becomes the least of your concerns.



Amen to that.




Bessie Braddock: “Sir, you are drunk.”
Churchill: “Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.”

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

BBishop says ...



 May I remind you blackhawkimages, that some one who has committed a crime no matter how good an actor they are, will not mimick others. It's like saying a criminal being taken to a trial will assume the role of the police officers taking him there. Remind you that being guilty changes the dynamics of your individuality thereby limiting you in most ways. When you are guilty, trying to act like another person becomes the least of your concerns.


 



A true social path of high IQ is not your "normal" person.                                                                                                                                                 Guilt is not a tangible emotion when there is no right or wrong. All three are abstract concepts that do not occur in nature without a frame of reference regarding acceptable conduct in the species.


Right, wrong, and guilt are qualities that are learned, and the standard by which determines them is a varible that is affixed by that current society, not nature.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Body langauge is only a clue to what a person is thinking, nothing more than that.  


Remember what Benny Hill said about the word "assume".    Don't make that mistake as people are complex as the day is long.

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

Okay, I'm tired of biting my tongue on "blackhawkimages". The only thing I see when he talks about this topic is "blah blah blah, i'm so smart, i'm a super secret agent with powers you are unable to imagine.blah blah blah. if you strike me down i shall become more powerful...blahblah blah"


 "These aren't the androids you're looking for."


Oops--sorry--did I say that out loud?




Bessie Braddock: “Sir, you are drunk.”
Churchill: “Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.”

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

officerd254 says ...



I use facial and body expressions with the criminals that I deal with on a daily basis.  Working in the jail, the inmates have come to know my facial and body expressions and know what each one means.  This is a good way to deescalate what could be very chaotix situations. 



Very true! Body language is a silent form of communication that is virtually impossible to disguise. Despite what blackhawkimages claims, it's comprised almost entirely of emotional reactions regardless of how slight. It is true that a persons reactions taken singularly can be misleading but by analysis of the totality of provided responses (answers) to a carefully chorographed and skilled session of interview can be extremely revealing useful. The person who can read it accurately will be an amazing supervisor, interrogator and facilitator. The company I worked for provided access to a multitude of resources to sharpen ones skills.

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

To blackhawkimages, IQ levels have nothing to do with microexpressions. How smart you are does not determine what emotions your facial muscles express, likewise your body posture. Again must I remind you that microexpressions are uncontrolable and cannot be learnt. These are expressions that occur more of like reflexes, and they occur in split seconds, which makes it difficult for one to detect unless trained in the art of microexpression recognition.


Plus blackhawkimages, when you talk of right and wrong in relation to guilt as a learnable phenomena is less than true. Why I say this is because guilt is a feeling, and it is proven by knowing right from wrong. You might argue otherwise, but the truth is, you do not learn guilt. You feel guilt.

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