Secrets and Lies: Involuntary Leakage in Deceptive Facial Expressions as a Function of Emotional Intensity
- 2.5k Downloads
Darwin (1872) hypothesized that some facial muscle actions associated with emotion cannot be consciously inhibited, particularly when the to-be concealed emotion is strong. The present study investigated emotional “leakage” in deceptive facial expressions as a function of emotional intensity. Participants viewed low or high intensity disgusting, sad, frightening, and happy images, responding to each with a 5 s videotaped genuine or deceptive expression. Each 1/30 s frame of the 1,711 expressions (256,650 frames in total) was analyzed for the presence and duration of universal expressions. Results strongly supported the inhibition hypothesis. In general, emotional leakage lasted longer in both the upper and lower face during high-intensity masked, relative to low-intensity, masked expressions. High intensity emotion was more difficult to conceal than low intensity emotion during emotional neutralization, leading to a greater likelihood of emotional leakage in the upper face. The greatest and least amount of emotional leakage occurred during fearful and happiness expressions, respectively. Untrained observers were unable to discriminate real and false expressions above the level of chance.
KeywordsUniversal emotions Facial expression Deception Emotional intensity
- Ekman, P. (1985/2001). Telling lies: Clues to deceit in the marketplace, politics, and marriage. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
- Ekman, P. (2003a). Darwin, deception and facial expression. In P. Ekman, R. J. Davidson, & F. De Waals (Eds.), Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Emotions inside out: 130 years after Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (Vol. 1000, pp. 205–221). New York: New York Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
- Ekman, P. (2003b). Emotions revealed: Recognizing faces and feelings to improve communication and emotional life. New York, NY, US: Times Books/Henry Holt and Co.Google Scholar
- Ekman, P. (2006, October 29). How to spot a terrorist on the fly. Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com.
- Ekman, P. (2009). Telling lies: Clues to deceit in the marketplace, politics, and marriage. New York, NY, US: Norton.Google Scholar
- Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. V. (1975). Unmasking the face: A guide to recognizing emotions from facial clues. Oxford, England: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
- Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. V. (1976). Pictures of facial affect. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
- Ekman, P., Friesen, W. V., & Hagar, J. C. (2002). Facial action coding system. Salt Lake City, UT: Network Information Research. (Original work published 1976).Google Scholar
- Haggard, E. A., & Isaacs, K. S. (1966). Micromomentary facial expressions as indicators of ego mechanisms in psychotherapy. In L. A. Gottschalk & A. H. Auerbach (Eds.), Methods of research in psychotherapy (pp. 154–165). New York: Appleton Century Crofts.Google Scholar
- Henig, R. M. (2006, February 5). Looking for the lie. New York Times. Retrieved December 1, 2010, from www.nytimes.com.
- Lang, P., Bradley, M., & Cuthbert, B. N. (1999). International Affective Picture System (IAPS): Instruction manual and affective ratings (Tech. Rep. No. A-4). Gainesville: University of Florida, Center for Research in Psychophysiology.Google Scholar
- Lipton, E. (2006, August 17). Threats and responses: Screening; faces, too, are searched as U.S. airports try to spot terrorists. New York Times. Retrieved December 1, 2010, from www.nytimes.com.
- Porter, S., ten Brinke, L., Baker, A., & Wallace, B. (2011, in press). Would I lie to you? “Leakage” in deceptive facial expressions relates to psychopathy and emotional intelligence. Personality and Individual Differences. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2011.03.031.
- R. v. B. (K.G.), 1 S.C.R. 740 (Supreme Court of Canada, 1993).Google Scholar
- R v N.S., ONCA 670 (Court of Appeal for Ontario, 2010).Google Scholar
- Shaw, J., Porter, S., & ten Brinke, L. (2011, under review). Catching liars: Training mental health and legal professionals to detect extremely high-stakes lies.Google Scholar
- ten Brinke, L., MacDonald, S., Porter, S., & O’Connor, B. (2011). Crocodile tears: Facial, verbal and body language behaviours associated with genuine and fabricated remorse. Law and Human Behavior, published online February 8, 2011. doi: 10.1007/s10979-011-9265-5..
- ten Brinke, L., & Porter, S. (2011, under review). Darwin the detective: Behavioural consequences of extremely high-stakes lies. Google Scholar