August 11, 2007

Are You Good At Reading Faces?

 

Do I look like I'm bluffing, bee-atch? 

 

Can you correctly identify emotions if they only briefly flicker across the face?  How good do you think you are?

Try the test. 

Was a certain emotion harder or easier for you?  Did it seem like some of the faces flickered faster than others?  It may not have anything to do with the emotion.  It might be the test.


Did you notice how some emotions flicker across the screen faster than others? (They don't, really.)  This might lead you to conclude that you are not as good at perceiving certain emotions.  But that might not be the case.

The problem with the test is that certain expressions in this test lateralize to one side of the face-- the expression is mostly visible on one side.  (See contempt 4 and 8.)  Depending on which emotion is displayed, and which side of the brain is dominant in you, reading one side of the face may be easier or harder for you.

For example, contempt goes to the boy's (4) left face, but girl's (8) right.  It might have been easier (or harder) for you to perceive if it went to a given side.

To show this, get a mirror, place it perpendicularly on the screen on the z-axis (out), facing the side of the expression.  Then, look into the mirror (not the screen) and see if the expression is easier or harder.  If it is, the problem for you is lateralization, not expression reading.

As a rule of thumb, anger and contempt are naturally (i.e spontaneously) expressed on the left face of right handed people. 

As an aside, I wonder if people who are "face blind" (can't read faces) aren't a) majority left handed; b) have the most difficulty reading right handed people's expressions, especially anger.  Can they tell when a dog is happy or sad? (Considerably more symmetric in facial expression, don't ask me why.)

As an interesting experiment, photograph yourself making the various emotions.  Then, video yourself (and I don't know how you'd do this) spontaneously making the expressions, for real (have a friend bring you a naked chick, a bag of maggots, your rival, Sandra Oh, etc) and compare.  How does your fake differ from your natural?  Look carefully.  What part of your face did you "forget" to fake?

Liars are easy to spot, because they are faking their expressions.  Pathological liars, however, are much more difficult, because they aren't really faking. 






Comments

Um, hello, new reader, your... (Below threshold)

August 13, 2007 7:16 PM | Posted by robotslave: | Reply

Um, hello, new reader, your site is delightful, etc etc, but do you think you might at least put up a little "GOOGLE ADS" caption over the box that's got the google ads in it?

You know, the one that's sitting there in the sidebar where people might expect to find links to things the blogger finds worthwhile, but instead offers four different ways to buy Diet Pills?

Alone's response: It does have a google ads caption! Besides, without ads, I'd have to go back to psychiatry.

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It does have a google ad... (Below threshold)

August 14, 2007 4:51 PM | Posted by robotslave: | Reply

It does have a google ads caption!

Er, no, I'm afraid it doesn't.

The page source doesn't have a "Google ads" label or caption, either, and I've tried it in Firefox and IE7 on Windows XP, so it's probably not a browser issue.

So I don't know what's going on, exactly, but your Google ads aren't labeled as such, on this end of the tubes.

  • Online Therapy.
  • Diet Pills.
  • Hoodia.
  • Hoodia Diet Pills.
  • Diet Pills.
  • Lawyers for Insurance Claims.

Not marked as ads.

There are things worse than going back to psychiatry...

Alone's response: oh, those ads. Those are "Text Link Ads" (a different company.) You're right, I should label them as ads. Sigh. Do you know how long it took for me to change the colors of the blog from white text on black background to black on white? A year and a half. Do you know why? Because I couldn't figure out where the change needed to be made, which file, how to do it, what the hell a #FFFFFF was...

I need a blog like intueri's.

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Did I wake up in Bizzaro Wo... (Below threshold)

August 14, 2007 5:22 PM | Posted by Lee: | Reply

Did I wake up in Bizzaro World this morning? In what culture is contempt expressed by pulling one corner of the mouth backwards? I've honestly never seen that before, and I don't remember reading it in Paul Ekman's book (Emotion in the Human Face). WTF?

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I have a photographic memor... (Below threshold)

August 14, 2007 11:42 PM | Posted by Stephany: | Reply

I have a photographic memory [oh this goes w the ritalin post and studying too]and I write with my right hand, but throw with my left. Now what?

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Hmm, I'm left-handed and I ... (Below threshold)

August 27, 2007 8:59 AM | Posted by Sheesh: | Reply

Hmm, I'm left-handed and I got them all right.

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Also, thought you might wan... (Below threshold)

August 27, 2007 9:00 AM | Posted by Sheesh: | Reply

Also, thought you might want to see this:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/26/AR2007082601410.html?hpid=topnews

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Those look like fake faces ... (Below threshold)

June 14, 2008 3:26 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Those look like fake faces to me. They look like someone has said 'Look angry!' not like actual anger. So the test actually tests your ability to identify the kind of face someone was trying to pull, not real expressions.
Both the 'contempt' faces look 'wry' to me. I interpret a lopsided pulling of the lips as a response to dry humour. Contempt is more like disgust, and involves curling the lip and wrinkling the nose.

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Thanks for sharing this blo... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 2:55 AM | Posted by Medifast Coupons: | Reply

Thanks for sharing this blog. I'll share it too to my friend. Medifast Coupons

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Okay, those tests are pathe... (Below threshold)

April 25, 2011 10:21 PM | Posted by iop: | Reply

Okay, those tests are pathetic. Let's hope someday that kind of thing becomes a real science. Anyone who have worked on physics can't believe people take that into account!

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The problem with the test i... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2013 8:19 PM | Posted by Dangers Blackson: | Reply

The problem with the test is that the same emotions are expressed by different people with respectively similar but different expressions.

Anger and disgust, sorrow and fear, disgust and surprise, happy and contempt, all of these emotions may be confused with others, or perhaps there is more than just one emotion happening at a time, one to a greater

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The problem with the test i... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2013 8:20 PM | Posted by Dangers Blackson: | Reply

The problem with the test is that the same emotions are expressed by different people with respectively similar but different expressions.

Anger and disgust, sorrow and fear, disgust and surprise, happy and contempt, all of these emotions may be confused with others, or perhaps there is more than just one emotion happening at a time, one to a greater extent than the other. There's just so much we don't know.

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