Saturday, September 5, 2015

Microexpressions and Politics

I am obsessed with the television show Lie To Me. If you haven't heard of it, here's a quick summary: It's about a scientist and a psychologist who use the reading of micro expressions to solve various cases.What is a micro expression? There are 44 muscles in the human face. They come together to form thousands of emotions. However, there are really only eight that need to be watched for: shame, disgust, contempt, happiness, sadness, surprise, anger, and fear. These emotions are reflected on the face by the "reptilian brain," the more primitive and instinctive part of our brains, for less than 1/2 a second. Even if you are attempting to hide an emotion, your face can betray you.

With this information, I decided to do an experiment. We are coming up on primary elections and eventually, next November, we will elect someone to be the president of the United States. These candidates have debates with audiences. This is what I'm doing: I am watching each debate and taking notes on the expressions I notice and when I notice them. I am attempting to use this to predict who will come out on top. Let me stress this: I am trying to prevent my political biases from getting in the way of this experiment. This is science, not politics. Ideally, after two or three debates, I will make a post with my notes on micro expressions and my interpretations of such.

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