November 30, 2012

The illusion that emotion is expressed through the face.

"When you and I talk to each other and we look at each other, we're really looking at each other's faces. That's where our attention is. And so the assumption has been that that's where all the information is, too.... But these studies show very clearly that that's not the case."

27 comments:

m stone said...

...Lisa Feldman Barrett, a scientist at Northeastern University who studies emotions

This Lisa has taken her passe name and ventured into new science territories with her Women and Gender Studies doctorate.

traditionalguy said...

What is the "emotion" being expressed in these counter intuitive body language tests? Balance? Secretiveness? Aggressiveness?

Those are not emotions.

The eyes are still the key to reading another's emotions.

Body language is fine as an intent cue that correlates to a suspected emotion among the open and innocent. But that does not work with trained deceivers.

And besides don't we really read others based on clothes and voice accents?



AllenS said...

Unless the person that you're talking to has breasts.

Bob Ellison said...

It seems to me that there are some questionable underlying assumptions in this method.

"When he showed just those isolated faces to people, they couldn't tell if something positive or negative was going on."

In the intense moment of victory or defeat at high-stakes athletic competition, the athlete hosts a complex combination of emotions. Release of pent-up feelings, anger, joy, relief, sadness, and other emotions can be present all at once. I don't think you can usefully ask "is this an expression of good or bad?"

ndspinelli said...

AllenS, LOL!!!!!

AllenS said...

It was too easy, Nick.

Noz pkr said...

Precisely why comment sections work so well in the absence of vis-a-vis

Fritz said...

AllenS said...

Unless the person that you're talking to has breasts.


So that's why we don't understand women's emotions?

rhhardin said...

[L]et it be a melancholy laugh, then. Laugh, but weep at the same time. If you cannot weep with your eyes, weep with your mouth. If this is still impossible, urinate. But I warn you, some sort of liquid is needed here to accentuate the drought which this sidesplit-pundit laughter carries in her womb.

- Lautreamont

robinintn said...

You're on an NPR tear this morning!

edutcher said...

Tell me the people in the pictures are athletes experiencing the thrill, the agony and that makes a difference.

Context is everything.

McTriumph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
McTriumph said...

Context is everything, besides some athletes don't emote win or lose.

But, wouldn't a brilliant researcher like Aviezer realize that context mattered?
Especially when the subjects of his experiment laughed in his face when finding out what the experiment was about

TMink said...

Facial cues are so good and telling that the Feds made some of the research about facial recognition software and techniques classified. Now the body has cues as well, and Bob's critique is cogent. But there is more information in the face and micro-expressions than any of us can process.

Trey

ricpic said...

The best tell in poker is the relative tension or lack of tension in the shoulders, arms, upper body of your opponent after he ups the ante in what could be a bluff. Also fidgeting or lack of fidgeting, stroking the face, etc. Of course it's hard to read because you're all sitting round a table and only the upper body is showing. But it's a better tell than his poker face. The same applies to a call.

tiger said...

Ahhhh, context.

OF COURSE people will read the faces 'wrong' when taken out of context of the rest of the body and situation that is eliciting the emotion.

I wonder why they ignored that part of the experiment?

Scott M said...

The Bene Gesserit could not be reached for comment.

DCS said...

Good example of a pseudo scientific study. First, build a big straw man and set it on fire. Then, assert what everyone already knows as some jaw dropping discovery. Who ever has claimed that people can read emotions from just seeing a facial expression in complete isolation? Buehler? Buehler? Anyone?

traditionalguy said...

Amazon and Audible are featuring "What Everybody is Saying" which is a short book by a former FBI expert interrogator and consultant to private businesses. He claims to be right all of the time using body language.

Open eyes vs squinting eyes is deemed important as is the arm positions and the way the head is held.

David said...

Emotion is manipulated through the face. It's harder to manipulate body language though some people are very good at it.

Is this why talking heads are so lifeless?

Remember when Gore unsuccessfully invaded Bush's space in the Presidential debate? Bush's facial expression was priceless, but it was a quick manipulative reaction for public consumption. Gore lost that confrontation with the Body. Bush never moved an inch. Basically he saw no threat. Gore never looked completely confident leaving the shelter of the podium. Then when Bush got neither defensive nor aggressive, Gore was puzzled and he turned slightly sideways to Bush.

It was game over at that moment.

McTriumph said...

David
I think that was the moment Al gore lost his mind.

Sam L. said...

McTriumph, you are too kind to Gore.

leslyn said...

Fritz said...
AllenS said...

Unless the person that you're talking to has breasts.

So that's why we don't understand women's emotions?

"That's it! That's the answer! Thank you!!"

(Quoting Opympia Dukakis in Moonstruck, about why men sleep around. The answer: They fear death.) --So now we've both learned the answers to questions that have stumped mankind over the ages. Thank you!

Methadras said...

Punch someone in the face and then tell me what the illusion is that you see.

Dante said...

Makeup: it's useless. That's why tattoos are in vogue.

ambienisevil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Goju said...

Strangely enough, dogs read people's emotions by looking at the right side of people's faces. Same as humans do. Check out Nova's "Science of Dogs" on Netflix. Real science by real scientists.