Methods of Research in Psychotherapy

Part of the series The Century Psychology Series pp 154-165

Micromomentary facial expressions as indicators of ego mechanisms in psychotherapy

  • Ernest A. Haggard
  • , Kenneth S. Isaacs

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In psychotherapy research, one is often hard pressed to make sense out of the many behaviors, processes, and other phenomena which can be observed in the therapy situation. The present report is concerned with one class of behaviors and processes which cannot be observed—namely, facial expressions which are so short-lived that they seem to be quicker-than-the-eye. These rapid expressions can be seen when motion picture films are run at about one-sixth of their normal speed. The film and projector thus become a sort of temporal microscope, in that they expand time sufficiently to enable the investigator to observe events not otherwise apparent to him.