Body Language is also known as Nonverbal Behavior – dynamic body movements that convey messages about the unspoken mindsets of individuals.
Learning to read Body Language or Nonverbal Behavior is crucial for anyone who wants to gain insights into the personalities, motivations, intentions, and hidden thoughts and feelings of people with whom they interact.
But with many channels and sub-channels of nonverbal behavior to track, reading nonverbal behavior is complicated!
Fortunately, research and practical experience can tell us which behavior to pay attention to and which to ignore, which are more important than others, and the kinds of messages we can get.
Learning to read facial expressions of emotion remains one of the most important channels of nonverbal behavior.
Here are a few of the many benefits to learning how to read facial expressions:
Strong Predictor of Workplace Performance
The ability to read emotions in others and in oneself has proven through research to be the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.
A recent study even suggests people who are in tune with their colleagues’ emotions are more likely to bring home a bigger paycheck than their emotionally-stunted colleagues!
Increased Ability to Detect Deception
Research has demonstrated that when motivated people lie, and there are stakes if they are caught, clues to deception do emerge, and appear as leakage across multiple channels.
The number one channel where this leakage occurs? You got it, facial expressions of emotion.
In addition, while there has been a general consensus that microexpressions (facial expressions that last less than ½ second: they occur when people are consciously or unconsciously trying to conceal or repress what they are feeling) 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.
Alleviates Facial Affect Recognition Deficits in Children with Autism
Multiple research studies have concluded that be using a computerized emotion recognition training program (like MiX), children with autism could improve their facial expression recognition ability.
Reduce Subsequent Crime in Juvenile Offenders with Antisocial Behavior
Researchers in the UK found that boys who improved their ability to recognize fear, anger and sadness in others’ faces were significantly less violent and severe that those who did not receive training.
The study involved 50 boys who had been convicted of a crime. More on this fascinating research can be found here.