“Why We’re Terrible At Reading Faces – Yet Quick To Judge Them”

“And yet, as bad as we are at reading expressions, we jump to all kinds of conclusions based on people’s faces.”

Paul Ekman did truly ground-breaking work into microexpressions, the nearly imperceptible changes in our faces that register pleasure, disgust and so on. Love this collection of academic studies via The Atlantic, summarizing some telling research into how we react to faces, expressions and related visual cues. Some of the most thought-provoking:

  • “People were ready to decide whether an unfamiliar face should be trusted after looking at it for just 200 milliseconds.”
  • “Another study reported that jurors needed less evidence to convict a person with an untrustworthy face”
  • “In another, when people watched silent videos of the same person experiencing pain and faking pain, they couldn’t tell which was which. A computer was correct 85 percent of the time”