Learning to spot micro and mini expressions will help you:
Improve your Emotional Intelligence
One of the keys to improving your Emotional Intelligence is developing skills to understand the human face. Unlike language, the face is a universal signal system which reflects the moment-by-moment fluctuations of how a person is feeling. These skills will help you recognize emotions of yourself and others.
Increase your empathy
Emotions play a key role in all of our interactions. Common expressions on the face — macro expressions — may not accurately portray how someone is feeling. When you can recognize micro expressions, you become more sensitive to the emotions others wish you to know they are feeling. You also can tell when an emotion is beginning, when an emotion is being concealed, and when a person is unaware of what they are actually feeling.
Recent research by Helen Reiss and others has shown that physicians’ ability to recognize emotion from briefly presented facial expressions predicted patients’ ratings of the physicians’ empathy.
Spot Concealed Emotions
When one tries to conceal his or her emotions, leakage will often occur in that person’s face. The leakage may be limited to one region of the face (a mini or subtle expression), or may be a quick expression across the whole face (a micro expression). Most people do not recognize these important clues, but with training, you can learn to spot them as they occur. See Paul Ekman’s book Telling Lies for a full analysis of these and other clues to deceit.
Improve your relationships
The face offers the best window we have on how other people are feeling. Improving your ability to recognize others’ emotions will increase the intimacy and understanding with which you connect with other people. Research has also found that people who learned to spot micro expressions were better-liked by co-workers.
Dr. Ekman’s research has shown that facial expressions which contradict words being spoken are usually missed, but are very important to pay attention to. Furthermore, micro facial expressions are a universal system – everybody has them. When you learn to recognize micro expressions, the skill applies to all others – from friends, to family, to total strangers. Even people from vastly different cultures, people who don’t speak your language, still have the same emotions and have the same expressions.
Recognize and manage your own emotions
Learning to recognize facial expressions of emotion in others helps you learn to recognize your own emotions. Dr. Ekman’s research has shown that simply mimicking an emotion by manipulating one’s own facial expressions will initiate the physiological experience of that emotion – within one’s self. When you consciously train yourself to link the facial expressions with the internal experience, you train in making your internal emotions conscious. Thus, you improve your chances of recognizing when you are becoming emotional. This can help you manage the expressions of your emotions.
Develop Social Skills
Individuals on the autism spectrum have benefitted greatly with micro expression training, most notably with the Subtle Expression Training Tool (eSETT).
People with schizophrenia have also shown positive results. Research done by Tamara Russell and others has found that training with Ekman’s Micro Expression Training Tool (eMETT) enabled people with schizophrenia to recognize emotion in others on par with normal persons.