Micro-Expressions – An Introduction

Micro-Expressions are signals of emotions that are Universal expressions. These expressions are involuntary muscle movement and only lasts a fraction of a second to reveal hidden feelings and agendas. There are 7 universal signs of emotion:

  • FEAR

BASE LINE – A person’s baseline is a face without an expression on it. It is important to recognize the person’s baseline so you can read subtle changes in expressions. We naturally use the context of any environment and situation to read the emotions of other people. Learning to recognize their baseline helps you read their faces better and we then depend on context less for emotional understanding. Lie detection works best when you know what emotion the situation tells you the person is feeling and notice that their face is showing a different one. In order to do this effectively you must be able to recognize baselines.

precom trainingHAPPINESS – A genuine smile – the universal sign of happiness – are expressed with a Duchenne smile. This is expressed on the face by the combined contraction of the zygomaticus major muscle (which is the voluntary part of a smile and is also engaged when saying “cheese” or clenching a pen in one’s teeth), and the orbicularis oculi – the cheek raiser (which raises the cheeks and creates or increases crows feet). Crows-feet are a useful sign of a felt smile only if the smile is slight, the enjoyment experienced is not very strong.  In a very large or broad smile the smiling lips themselves will create the crows-feet, and so you have to look at the eyebrows.  If the eye muscle is involved because it is truly the smile of enjoyment, then the eyebrow will move down, very slightly.


precom training1CONTEMPT – Contempt is a sign of feeling superiority. Therefor the direct definition of this micro-expression is to feel superior or see another person as inferior. Contempt is the only micro-expression that is asymmetrical and any other expression that appears asymmetrical will thus be a blended contempt expression. When contempt is present, the persons lip corner will be tightened and raised on only one side of the face. To feel contempt one must be able to judge & criticize others by comparing, therefore, new born babies can’t show contempt, but only up to the age of two. Dogs and monkeys are also incapable of showing contempt.


Studies revealed through the Australian Custom Office Research, 1986:

When someone is lying, he smiles less or not at all, irrespective of culture. The person’s body movements are also restricted. When meeting with the police, people tend to smile more to demonstrate their innocence

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