Emotions and feelings can be expressed through verbal or through your facial expressions and body language. People usually do not show their true intentions or feelings easily. They hide their true thoughts under layers. These true thoughts are suppressed due to several reasons. This allows them to fake a reaction successfully many times. Faking an expression can be useful sometimes. But when one is on the receiving end, a fake reaction is liked by no one. Fortunately, or maybe, unfortunately, there are clues that a person’s face gives out in the form of very tiny expressions that are hard to fake. These are called micro-expressions.
What are the micro-expressions?
Understanding the difference between micro-expressions and other expression types is important to learn more about them. This brings us to two main types of human expressions –
Macro-expression – These are long lasting expressions ranging between 1.5 seconds to 4 seconds. These are normal expressions that a human can manipulate upon his will. The macro-expressions match with the emotions of a person’s speech. Therefore, these expressions are easy to fake with different sounds of voice. We see them clearly in daily interaction with humans.
Micro-expression – Micro-expressions are the involuntary reactions shown by the human face but for a small fraction of time in reaction to any stimulant. These expressions are subconscious and cannot be controlled. A fraction of true emotions is always leaked before your fake emotions and thoughts flow in. The micro-expression shows seven universal emotions by subtle movements like an eye shrink or mouth opening. The seven emotions shown are disgust, anger, fear, sadness, happiness, surprise and contempt.
Micro-expressions are basically the leaks in your emotional barrier. These leaks, when noticed by an experienced observer, will tell him about your true intentions and thoughts very easily. Micro-expressions are purely reflexive. They will automatically appear on a person’s face as a twitch or eyebrow raise or any other form. Preventing them is close to impossible, as they are completely subconscious brain reactions.
Why is the study of micro-expressions important?
Since micro-expressions are like a small flicker, it is hard to catch them accurately. Observing micro-expressions, when done correctly, allows you to read the minds of people. Such a superhuman likeability is worth learning from early life. Today, micro-expressions are recognized as the subject of study and taught in various institutes and schools as distinct courses. There are different careers where human interaction is regular. Micro-expressions elevate the level of this interaction and make it more meaningful. Therefore, students need to learn about micro-expressions to prepare themselves for different career paths.
There are three main purposes for learning micro-expressions –
Micro-expressions can be used by a student to know the emotional state of parents’ classmates and teachers. An insight into someone’s micro-expressions reveals their behavior patterns, what they like, what they dislike, etc.
Once you pay attention, you can see when emotion is started, when a person feels irritated, and when a person suppresses his emotion to design your actions according to the observations. This helps you to act in the most suitable way. For example, when noticing someone’s expression change into anger, you will know that is time to retreat or talk more logically and calm the person.
Understanding a person will help you sympathize and connect to him or her better. Micro-expressions show what a person hesitates to speak. Grabbing these clues may even help you to reach out to a distressed person who is hiding something. For instance, a person may try to be cool when he is sad. Catching the micro-expressions like a change in lip shape can help you know his sadness.
Regardless of culture or language barriers, micro-expressions are universal. All of us show some reflexes in the form of expressions, and it does not require knowing the person’s language to understand his expressions.
- Detecting Lies and Deception
As a young human, you need to be careful about deceiving people. There are all kinds of expert liars you will meet in your study life. They will try to impress you with fake stories, lure you, and tempt you by their talks. But their micro-expressions give up their cheap tricks.
Asking a few questions that can throw a liar off guard helps you to see these minor micro-expressions on his or her face.
The micro-expressions will be short and fade quickly. So, observe closely any change in facial expressions like anger, surprise, etc.
The trick of rapid-fire questions and observing the micro-expressions are used by professional psychologists and investigators all over the world. This trick can be used in daily life by everyone, including students, to protect themselves from traps.
- Using micro-expressions in communication
Mastering the identification of micro-expression is one level. And manipulating the micro-expressions to communicate is another level. You can not completely control your micro-expressions but can use them for benefits.
Suppressing emotions are sometimes useful and sometimes harmful. As a student, know when to suppress your subconscious expressions and when to enhance them. Learning to mix different amounts of these expressions improves your communication skills manifold.
Understanding micro-expressions can help you communicate more effectively through your expressions. It also allows you to tell lies in a more natural way. Lying is not good, but sometimes it can be lifesaving. It is a tool that every student should have up his sleeve. Telling partial lies which can be justified as truth is important once in a while. For instance, when someone asks “How am I looking?” saying something like “not so good” is rude even if it is true. Saying “You are beautiful” is the correct answer because philosophically everyone is beautiful. Lying is unpleasant when you don’t know how to lie. Therefore, using your micro-expressions is important.
Learning to read micro-expressions is a skill every student should know. The skill makes one more confident during interactions and helps in understanding people. Learning micro-expressions can be used to maintain calm and happy relationships with professors, parents, friends, and any human around.