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Human Facial Expressions and Rapport Skills

Some interesting insights from a study about facial expressions. This comes in handy in developing a skill set for calibration techniques to help develop nonverbal rapport. And that’s a Master Key for peak performance in Law School (or in any worthwhile endeavor).

Read the whole article at The New Scientist

Human facial expressions aren’t universal
by Ewen Callaway

Facial expressions, Charles Darwin argued in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, are a universal window into emotion. But new research challenges that notion, showing that east Asian people struggle to recognise facial expressions that western Caucasians attribute to fear and disgust. By focusing on eyes and brows, Asians miss subtle cues conveyed via the mouth.

“We question the universality of these specific signals,” says Rachael Jack, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Glasgow, UK, whose team analysed how 13 Caucasian and 13 east Asian men and women interpret a standardised set of facial expressions, thought to be racially neutral, which is used widely in research.

Caucasian volunteers had no problem distinguishing between expressions of surprise, fearMovie Camera, disgustMovie Camera and anger. Asians, however, frequently confused fear for surprise and disgust for anger, Jack’s team found.

An eye-tracking tool and software indicated that while Caucasians tended to look at all parts of a face equally, Asians alternated their gaze between the left and right eyes.


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