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Next-Level Flirting: Decoding Her Microexpressions
  • January 30, 2014 : 23:01
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A popular drunken bullshit schtick at the bar is the “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?” game. What’s your answer? Do you want to fly, be invisible, or maybe you’d like to be able to read minds? Telepathy is a popular choice. And after all, reading minds is game...serious game. 

No one can teach you to shoot lasers from your eyes, but there may be a way to read secret thoughts and emotions. It turns out the face displays one’s inner emotional state, whether or not one wants it to. For more than 40 years, psychologists have known about “microexpressions,” outer expressions of feelings we’re trying to conceal or suppress, which are completely involuntary. If the face can't keep a secret, why are we not all peering into one another’s souls? Because microexpressions flash across the face for less than a second. But with a sharp set of eyes and a quick mind it’s possible to pick up on them.

Microexpressions were first discovered in the 1960s by therapists reviewing footage of psychology sessions. When they slowed their films down and examined them frame by frame, they noticed quick expressions that didn’t match the feelings the patients were reporting. Further research revealed that people not only unconsciously showed some of their inner states but that these microexpressions happened more often when someone was actively trying to disguise how they felt. That is, the more we try to lie, the more our faces are likely to give us away. It’s a fascinating discovery, and law enforcement has been using it to spot when people are lying. But there’s one obvious field it hasn’t been applied to yet: sex and dating.

Joy, disgust, anger, contempt, fear, sadness and surprise are seven basic emotions with specific facial gestures that seem to be hardwired into all humans. They’re represented and displayed the same way in everybody, regardless of their culture or background. So if we’re feeling any of these seven basic emotions, they’ll pop up on our faces for a fleeting moment, even if we’re contorting our lips into a fake smile or trying to keep a blank poker face. Let’s take a look at a few of these basic emotions and the ever-so-quick facial tells that might be relevant in the pursuit of love.Contempt is the one you don’t want to see flicker across a woman’s face while she otherwise holds a tight smile. If you spot the neutral eyes combined with one corner of her lips curled up, pack it in and move on.

If you’re flirting with a girl and she’s giving you stone face, everything she tells you seems a little detached and aloof. Is she blowing you off? Or is she playing it cool? Look for the flash of joy as you talk to her. It’s a combo of a little smile with the lips, the cheeks raised and the muscles around the eyes tightening up. Glimpse this one and she’s into you!

Many may think that disgust is worse than contempt. However, those of us who have slept with people who disgust us would argue it’s rarer to lay someone for whom you only feel contempt. That said, we’re not going to sugarcoat that catching sight of disgust is generally not awesome for your chances. A wrinkled nose, a loose lower lip and the eyebrows and upper lip pulled up all add up to a look that says it’s time to move on to the next girl at the bar. 

If you want to develop your new skills beyond the seven basic emotions, you can move on to the work of Dr. Paul Eckman, psychologist and FBI consultant, who claims to have discovered 3,000 more complex microexpressions and offers workshops and software to identify them. 

Now go forth and use your newfound powers for good.

read more: Sex and Dating, sex, relationships, sex advice, dating advice

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