Archive for the ‘Calibration’ Category
In one of my favorite blogs, Barking Up The Wrong Tree, we find five “how to read people” secrets backed by research:
- Don’t make the usual mistakes: Take context, clusters, baseline, and biases into consideration.
- First impressions are often accurate: With a number of traits you can trust your gut. But know which ones.
- Trust mimicry and emotional expression: But they have to be sustained and consistent.
- Awful people have tells: Pay attention to notice them. And look for narcissists in flashy clothing.
- Deepening voice and touching says “flirting”: True for both men and women.
In the October 2009 issue of Smithsonian Magazine, there’s an article on Amy Herman, an art historian and lawyer, who uses fine art to teach the fine art of observation:
A Caravaggio appeared on the screen. In it, five men in 17th-century dress are seated around a table. Two others stand nearby, and one of them, barely discernible in shadow, points a finger — accusingly? — at a young man at the table with some coins.
Among the officers a discussion arose about who robbed whom, but they soon learned there could be no verdict. No one was being accused or arrested, Herman said. The painting was The Calling of St. Matthew, and the man in the shadow was Jesus Christ. The cops fell silent.
Later, Deputy Inspector Donna Allen said, “I can see where this would be useful in sizing up the big picture.”
Some of the comments on the Web version of the article are interesting, too. One of them mentions the Sherlock Holmes stories. Another mentions a program called Visual Thinking Strategies, something I hadn’t heard of before.
If I ever have the opportunity to take Ms. Herman’s training, I think I’ll do it. What about you?
Go read Teaching Cops to See, from Smithsonian Magazine
We’ve intuited for ages that faces reflect personalities, and that we can “tell just by looking at them” what a person is really like. Some new research is bearing out our intuition, at least in the domain of aggression:
Volunteers viewed photographs of faces of men for whom aggressive behavior was previously assessed in the lab. The volunteers rated how aggressive they thought each person was on a scale of one to seven after viewing each face for either 2000 milliseconds or 39 milliseconds.
The photographs were very revealing: Volunteers’ estimates of aggression correlated highly with the actual aggressive behavior of the faces viewed, even if they saw the picture for only 39 milliseconds.
Facial Features May Predict Volatility is on Psych Central.
Cognitive Daily recently posted some research that may give us an easier way to improve our ability to tell when other people are lying to us:
But what if there was a shortcut in sniffing out a lie, relying on our own instinctual behavior? Would it be possible to improve the lie-detecting abilities of ordinary people without all that training? A team led by Mariëlle Stel had a hunch that our tendency to mimic the physical and facial expressions of the people we are speaking to might help us to tell when they are lying.
It isn’t what you are probably thinking. I think you’ll be surprised. Check it out:
Eyes for Lies points to a sweet video by Dr. David Matsumoto, “Characteristics of Basic Emotions”. In it, Dr. Matsumoto explains the differences between the seven “basic” or “universal” emotions and the rest.
I love, love, love Lie To Me. I’m fairly good at reading micro-expressions, having gone through an abbreviated version of Paul Eckman’s METT training a few years ago, and my NLP training and practice have improved my calibration and time-distortion skills. And I check out the Eyes for Lies blog every day, too, which led me to this article: Subtle Expressions Key to Detecting Deception:
New research in a paper called Detecting Deception from Emotional and Unemotional Cues by Gemma Warren, Elizabeth Schertler and Peter Bull suggests that subtle expressions, not microexpressions, could be a more accurate tool in detecting deception.
It’s an interesting distinction. Micro-expressions, which Eckman’s work covers, are full manifestiations of a facial expression which last only a fraction of a second. Subtle expressions, though, are the tiny twitches and incomplete movements that indicate a facial expression is on its way, even if said expression never makes it.
More cool stuff to learn.
Security guru Bruce Schneier brings us one of those things that flies in the face of conventional wisdom:
People confess to crimes they don’t commit. They do it a lot. What’s interesting about this research is that confessions—whether false or true—corrupt other eyewitnesses…
Yep. People will believe someone’s confession over their own experience.
How can we put this to work?
DR. CAL LIGHTMAN (Tim Roth, “The Incredible Hulk,” “Reservoir Dogs”) can detect the truth by analyzing a person’s face, body, voice and speech. When someone shrugs one shoulder, rotates their hand or raises their lower lip, Lightman knows they’re lying. By analyzing facial expressions, he can read feelings – from hidden resentment to sexual attraction to jealousy. But as Lightman well knows, his scientific ability is both a blessing and a curse in his personal life, where family and friends deceive each other as readily as criminals and strangers do. Lightman is the world’s leading deception expert, a scientist who studies facial expressions and involuntary body language to discover not only if you are lying but why.
Premiers January 21 on Fox. (Hey, Honey, set the TiVo, please!)
Watch the trailer:
Facial expression, that is.
ARTNATOMY/ARTNATOMIA is a Flash interactive english/spanish tool. It is intended to facilitate the teaching and learning of the anatomical and biomechanical foundation of facial expression morphology.
I’ve been playing with it; it’s fascinating and fun.
This article at the Mind Hacks Blog summarizes some research being done in the area of how we decide to trust (or mistrust) a person based on the shape of their face. It starts with an article at the Boston Globe, with an accompanying graphic illustration of the pertinent facial characteristics:
behavioral scientists have also begun to unravel the inner workings of trust. Their aim is to decode the subtle signals that we send out and pick up, the cues that, often without our knowledge, shape our sense of someone’s reliability. Researchers have discovered that surprisingly small factors – where we meet someone, whether their posture mimics ours, even the slope of their eyebrows or the thickness of their chin – can matter as much or more than what they say about themselves. We size up someone’s trustworthiness within milliseconds of meeting them, and while we can revise our first impression, there are powerful psychological tendencies that often prevent us from doing so – tendencies that apply even more strongly if we’ve grown close.
Here’s something else I found interesting:
Another set of cues, and a particularly powerful one, is body language. Mimicry, in particular, seems to put us at our ease. Recent work by Tanya Chartrand, a psychology professor at Duke, and work by Jeremy Bailenson and Nick Yee, media scholars at Stanford, have shown that if a person, or even a computer-animated figure, mimics our movements while talking to us, we will find our interlocutor significantly more persuasive and honest.
Cute, eh? Go read the Globe article; it’s great.
If you love academic writing, or even more detail, here’s a PDF of a Princeton University study on the subject.