FACIAL EXPRESSIONS - Macro, micro and mini expressions

What can you read from the woman's face below?

Source: http://i3.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article5381576.ece/ALTERNATES/s1200/Stressed-white-businesswoman-at-laptop.jpg

The human face is a multisignal, multimessage system.

According to Paul Ekman and Wallace V. Friesen there are three types of signals.

Look at the picture below:

Source: https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2243/2235846274_1fb86b52b8.jpg

Check the man's skin and its pigmentation. Look at the shape of his face, its size, shape and the features like the eye brows, eyes, mouth and nose. These signals are called STATIC SIGNALS because they are relatively permanent. If you are together with this man in the room, you can see these signals all the time (except if, for example, he has an accident and some of these features will change or he decides to shave his beard off).

Let me bring a topic here we can touch during coaching. You have been asked to share a picture of yourself related to an important business situation (e.g. a picture of you next to your introduction on a website or at a local paper). You have a couple of options to choose from. How would you choose? Would you ask people to give you feedback? What are the static signals (pictures can be considered as messages conveying static signals) that provide you with the greatest business advantage? Look at the four options below. Which face would you pick for the abovementioned purpose?

Source: http://www.joannadegeneres.com/gallery/same-person-different-looks/

Now look at the two pictures of Maggie Smith:

Source: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0bBq9xyDMBo/Ua5imRRSe-I/AAAAAAAAIQA/XEijXDojV2I/s1600/maggie+smith+1.jpg

Observe the permanent wrikles she developed during the years. This second class of signals is called SLOW SIGNALS and they include gradual changes in the facial appearance that happen with time. What else can change with the years? Muscle tone, skin texture and even its color can change.

Now check this short video:

It is an example of the RAPID SIGNALS. They are produced by the movements of the facial muscles. We can see temporary changes on the face when this happens. This time the wrinkles are only temporary. We can see them on the face for only seconds or for a fragment of a second.

As a multimessage system, our face sends messages about emotion, mood, attitudes, character, intelligence, intentions, attractiveness, age, sex or race. What emotion can you recognize below?

Source: https://media.giphy.com/media/kUxiRe9k4atk4/giphy.gif

Yes, it is sadness (masked with a smile). When seeing a facial expression we can have several questions. Let us see some examples. Is it a spontaneous (genuine) or a deliberate facial behavior? Can we detect if someone is trying to conceal their feelings? How does the social context influence the spontaneous expression of emotion? There can be, for example, DISPLAY RULES in operation, which are culturally learned rules or norms. It tells about when it is appropriate to express an emotion and to whom one can reveal one's feelings.

Source: http://data.whicdn.com/images/75814618/large.gif

When learning to detect the facial signals and messages, we can use several measurements. Here are some examples: (1) ONSET: when the movement first appeared; (2) APEX: when it reaches the maximum; (3) OFFSET: when it disappeared; (4) FREQUENCY: how often a behavior happens (e.g. eye blinking / minute); (5) INTENSITY: we can use an intensity scoring from the mildest possible movement (trace) to the most intensive one (maximum); (6) DURATION: how long the whole display lasts. Based on intensity and duration we can divide the expressions into three further categories.

Source: http://www.reactiongifs.com/r/14233995201878-anigif_enhanced-buzz-32695-1365622759-0.gif

MACRO EXPRESSIONS generally last from half of a second to 4 seconds (duration marker). When you are with your business partners, friends or family members and you are experiencing single emotions and you have no reason for modifying or concealing them, you will show macro expressions. They are relatively easy to see if one knows what to look for. What emotion is the man displaying below?

Source: https://media.giphy.com/media/wVcNP3TnXbl84/giphy.gif

MICRO EXPRESSIONS, on the other hand, are expressions that go on and off the face in a fraction of a second. They can sometimes be as fast as 1/30 of a second. They can be so fast that if you blink, you would miss them. They can be rapidly processed emotional states or signs of concealed emotions (see the next area of my coaching called DECEPTION). When in a conversation most people cannot see or recognize them because of their high speed. Can you detect how the lips are pressed, lip corners pulled in alignment of the blink and head nod?

Source: https://giant.gfycat.com/NextDisfiguredCrab.gif

MINI EXPRESSIONS (also called subtle expressions) are in connection with INTENSITY (intensity marker). These expressions occur when you are just starting to feel an emotion, or when your emotional response to a situation, a business partner, friend, family member or the environment is of low intensity. Check the subtle movements of the lip corners and how they are gradually pressed together. The muscles on the left side of her neck (right side on your screen) are gently contracted as well.

Source: http://cdn.fansided.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/280/files/2016/05/danaskulls.gif

It cannot be stressed enough that other ATTRIBUTES can also influence your "face reading" accuracy. Let me tell you some: (1) the light and shadow in the environment; (2) the distance (how far you are from the other person); (3) culture (you can easily misinterpret signals due to these static signals or display rules); (4) angle (if you can see the whole frontal face or slightly turned away or the profile); (5) obstacles (if parts of the face are covered by sunglasses, scarf, hand, hair, beard, glass, mobile phone etc.); (6) special conditions (drunk person, sick individual, someone in pain, sleep deprived person, someone who took drug etc.); (7) speech (you can see a facial behavior as an emotional expression while it just appears because the person is speaking); (8) media quality (low resolution pictures, screens, internet bandwidth etc.). See the example below.

Source: https://68.media.tumblr.com/754356b29990dfe83e9fffa49488ba23/tumblr_inline_oj1be5JRpZ1rdy9e4_500.gif

FACIAL EXPRESSION COACHING helps you capture the relevant facial behavior of others and use that information in a constructive way. You can also learn to manage your own facial signals and messages.

Together we observe others as they are showing various facial expressions. We record your facial behaviors too and analyze them. You will soon become an expert at evaluating the expressions of the face.

By paying attention to your own facial behavior when communicating with others you will have greater influence on them. By paying attention to others, you can collect useful information that can be used during the further stages of the communication. You can ask more accurate and appropriate questions. You become a better influencer, teacher or salesman.

When you feel you can read the face we can say good-bye to each other. The coaching process is over.

Next time you may want to work on another topic so you can call me to work on the world of DECEPTION you can detect on others. This is the seventh field in my coaching portfolio (see above by clicking on the fifth picture).

To read more about the incongruent messages, you can go to the BLOG section.

To have more information about the coaching with me, you can go to the CONTACT section.

Key Features


Variables: Emotions, Onset, Apex, Offset, Upper face actions, Lower face actions

Examples: Showing confidence, making a good first impression, creating trust, communicating acceptance, keeping optimal distance, improving self-esteem, energizing the body, detecting attitude, decoding openness, interest, attention, involvement and attraction