Fool me once…

Posted by Hullabaloo

Micro-expressions… What are they? And why are they so small?

Well! A micro-expression is the tiny and usually subconscious movement of muscles in the face. Typically, these micro-expressions are too fast and too subtle for anyone to notice with the naked eye and largely can’t be faked or inhibited, even if the individual is trying to fain their body language (lying). Some people though, are significantly (in a statistical sense) attuned to these signals, making them very adept at spotting lies or detecting the real emotions or motives behind false statements made by an individual.

Typically, however, video recordings and frame by frame analysis is what is needed to witness the micro-expression. The research, made famous by Paul Ekman, has been used in popular culture such as the television show ‘Lie to me’ which features a private company that is hired to asses whether people of interest are lying.

While this is clearly a dramatised representation of the science, essentially, it really is all in the small details. When the snapshot is captured, we can all read the message. The talent is in getting that snapshot. Continuing along this tangent, we can apply this notion to design. The sincerity is all in the detail. The artwork is a snapshot of the campaign for everyone to see and make judgment about.

This is why knowing your client and finding a good working relationship with them is key. This gives you the knowledge to include the details that convey the sincerity of the design and really hit the mark with your target audience, driving them to invest in your ideas and believe in your honesty.

Think you can spot a lie? You can try to spot mine here. (I’ll be honest in saying it’s not the most taxing of lie detection tasks, but a bit of fun all the same!)

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