By Cassandra Evanas, DivineCaroline
When trying to figure out whether someone’s lying to me, I look for the classic signs, as dictated by pop culture—shifty, averted eyes, twitching, rapid blinking, and so forth. But most psychologists and body language experts will tell you that none of those indicate lying. In fact, pinpointing a lie based on physical cues only works about half of the time, making it a guessing game at best.
What is true is that more is revealed by our mannerisms than we realize. Paul Ekman, a psychology professor at the University of California, San Francisco, believes that we make unconscious flashes of expressions—called microexpressions—that demonstrate our true feelings. And because they involve muscles that can’t be activated at will, these expressions are uncontrollable. But recognizing these hidden emotions requires learning to read between the furrowed brows and stretched lips.
The Seven Universal Expressions
Microexpressions pop up extremely briefly, ranging from 1/5 to 1/25 of a second in length, so most people don’t pick up on them without training. Ekman came up with seven standard expressions and their key components to look for when trying to figure out how the person you’re speaking with really feels.