We receive many inquiries at the PEG offices. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about our training tools, along with our answers. Need more information? Contact us and we’ll do our best to help you.
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What distinguishes Micro Expressions and Subtle Expressions?
Micro Expressions and Subtle Expressions have been shown to increase one’s ability to:
- recognize concealed emotions
- improve emotional intelligence
- benefit sales-driven interactions. Read more about these benefits.
Micro Expressions teaches recognition of concealed emotions. Subtle Expressions teaches recognition of very small, subtle signs of emotion.
The Micro Expressions tool flashes full facial expressions, while Subtle Expressions flashes “mini” expressions – focusing on one specific region of the face – such as the eyes or mouth – at a time.
The Micro Expressions suite has “Pre-Test,” “Training,” “Practice,” and “Post-Test” modes. Subtle Expressions has “Learning and “Practice” modes.
CEU’s are now available for these products! Click here for instructions.
Which tool should I use?
Beginner: Micro Expressions, or Subtle Expressions.
We recommend first time users start with Micro Expressions and then proceed to Subtle Expressions. The Subtle Expressions training includes smaller expressions focused on a single part of the face at one time, and helps back up the Micro Expressions training. Now tablet-compatible, the Micro Expressions/Subtle Expressions Combo is our best deal and will significantly improve your ability to recognize micro and subtle expressions of emotion.
Intermediate: Micro Expressions Advanced Training.
If you have done some micro expression training and want to improve your accuracy, we recommend Micro Expressions Advanced Training.
Expert: Micro Expressions Profile Training
If you have trained in both micro and subtle expressions and reached your highest score, try the recently added Micro Expressions Profile Training to learn to spot micro expressions from a profile view.
Is the training available on CD or DVD?
No, all of our trainings are exclusively online. They utilize a web-browser interface. Nothing will be shipped.
I’d like to score higher. Can I retake the test?
You can retake the training as many times as you like. We recommend that you not take the post-test more than once every 3 months. This way your score will not be affected by memorizing the faces and expressions.
Can I share my account with others?
Our tools are licensed for individuals and will reflect your progress over time. Sharing accounts is, therefore, counterproductive to your ability to track your success. Why not gift an account to someone you think would appreciate it, rather than sharing?
Do you have any different language versions of your tools available?
No, nein, ixnay. We only have tools in English at this time.
I want in-depth training. What should I do?
Can your training help with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)?
Yes, we are confident that our training modules are beneficial for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. We are collaborating with researchers investigating specific aspects of our training modules’ effects.
Here’s what we recommend:
-From the information we have at this point, we recommend first using the Subtle Expressions training at a slow speed.
-In instances where even this is too fast to be effective, we recommend printing our facial expression photos and using them as flash cards. You can find a sequence of full-page photos in the back of Paul Ekman’s book, Emotions Revealed. We also sell photo sets here.
-If the Subtle Expressions training is effective, follow it with Micro Expressions training. People show the most improvement using both Subtle Expressions and Micro Expressions modules.
Do you have any training in body language available?
There will be a forthcoming training module that incorporates body language available on our website. Release date is unknown at this time.
In the meantime, this article from 1979 entitled “Measuring Hand Movements,” will give you more information on the topic.
How do I become a lie detector like Dr. Cal Lightman on 'Lie to Me'?
There is no actual lie detection career. However, you can learn detection skills by training with our Micro Expressions and Subtle Expressions. Once you have acquired these skills, they can be used in many different careers.
- Many law and security enforcement professionals benefit from these skills.
- Teachers use the skills to better understand their students.
- Doctors and other medical professionals may need to know that their patients are telling them the truth so that they are able to diagnose them quickly and safely.
- Sales personnel find these skills useful in gaining sensitivity to clients’ needs.
- Managers are able better understand their employees.
Most researchers in the field of facial expressions study some area of psychology, namely cultural, behavioral or social psychology.
Here is an article by Maureen O’Sullivan featured in Psychology Today for more explanation about careers in lie detection.
How true/real is the science in 'Lie to Me'?
Obviously the show ‘Lie to Me’ was meant for entertainment. However, it is most important to Dr. Paul Ekman that people understand the difference between fact and fiction. You can find his critique of each episode here.
There is no such job listing as “lie detector” but you can utilize this skill in most jobs where you are required to work with people.
When will training tools for iPad be ready?
What new tools are you working on?
We are working on an interactive online guide for couples to explore how they deal with disagreements, and more generally how well they understand each others’ way of being emotional. Our new tool is called Charting your Anger Profiles or CAP.
Advice for advanced academic study in facial recognition
If you are in school, seek assistance from your school’s guidance or education counselor. These individuals are most able to tailor a response to your specific interests, goals and skills. If you are not in school, seek help from personnel at nearby colleges and universities for the same reasons.
We encourage you to seek a degree in Psychology with a specialization in emotions and/or behavior. The field is relatively new and continues to develop and change . Here are some tips and resources we hope will help you on your way:
Research is an important piece of the puzzle.
One useful distinction for you to make is if your interest leans more towards FACS or micro expressions.
If you are drawn towards FACS, please make note that FACS is a tool that is used in many areas of research; thus you would do well to think about the kind of application of FACS you are interested in: e.g., psychology, public health, forensics, etc.
Whatever you are drawn to, we recommend that you learn about people currently doing research in your area of interest. This way, you will see what options are available to you. With discretion, you can contact researchers for advice and referrals.
One useful resource is the book, What the Face Reveals: Basic and Applied Studies of Spontaneous Expression Using the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), Second Edition, edited by Paul Ekman and Erika L. Rosenberg. The material may be of interest to your work. In addition, the authors of the chapters are specialists in the field and may be further resources for you.
Here are some of our colleagues:
Robert W. Levenson, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, Director of the Institute of Personality and Social Research and the Berkeley Psychophysiology Laboratory
Daniel Cordaro, University of California, Berkeley.
We wish you much success in your work and study. Thank you for your interest and your contribution.
What is FACS?
FACS is an acronym which stands for the Facial Action Coding System.
FACS is a research tool useful for measuring any facial expression a human being can make. FACS is an anatomically based system for exhaustively describing all observable facial movement. Each observable component of facial movement is called an Action Unit or AU. All facial expressions can be broken up into their constituent AUs. The manual describes the criteria for observing and coding each AU and describes how AUs appear in combinations. The CD-based manual (2002) is an exhaustive description of facial behavior in terms of AUs and their combinations.
Since its first publication in 1978 by Ekman & Friesen, the FACS manual has been designed to be self-instructional. That is, people would read the manual, do practice coding with video images, and eventually take a final test for certification. Typically, this self-instruction takes about 100 hours, but frequently more, and many people take months to complete the training. Dr Ekman has always recommended training in groups, and researchers who have trained with him often encourage their students to learn in groups. As the manual is long and tedious, many people benefit from interaction with others in learning the material.
The Paul Ekman Group is now offering FACS. It will be available for purchase soon from our website. Please contact us for more information.
We endorse Erika Rosenberg; she teaches a week-long FACS course.