Finally! The first scientific evidence that microexpressions are a Key to Deception Detection!
While there has been a general consensus that microexpressions play a significant role in deception detection for decades, in reality there had never been a research study published in a peer-reviewed, scientific journal that documented that claim.
New and exciting evidence comes from Humintell’s own Drs. David Matsumoto and Hyisung Hwang in a recently published paper in Frontiers in Psychology. In their study, they sought to determine whether microexpressions could reliably indicate deception in a mock crime experiment. Ultimately, they found that microexpressions served as a helpful guide both in detecting deceit and also in evaluating future misconduct.
In actuality, previous studies did try to document the effect of microexpressions as deception indicators. But past research did not assess microexpressions effectively. An experiment was conducted featuring a mock crime. Here, participants were told to either lie or tell the truth during a simulated interview. Both the prescreening interview and the actual experiment were modeled as closely as possible on real-world law enforcement procedures.
Because past research has found that microexpressions are universal culturally, participants included both U.S. born European-Americans and Chinese immigrants. Throughout the interviews, each participant was filmed and their expressions closely analyzed.
After performing these mock interviews, facial behaviors were hand coded by experts to determine whether microexpressions were present. Emotions were then grouped as either negative, such as fear and anger, or positive, such as happiness.
It turned out that liars and truthtellers had starkly different expressions manifestations, with liars showing markedly more negative microexpressions. Not only does this help show that negative microexpressions can be used to determine deception, but the average duration of these microexpressions was relatively constant as between 0.4 and 0.5 seconds.
This study, then, not only provided the first scientific evidence that microexpressions can help detect deception, but it also helped foster further research in looking critically at what constitutes a microexpression.
And it may be a good time for you to participate and learn how to detect deception yourself!