Read Body Language Instead Of Facial Expressions To Judge Emotions

It's normal to look at someone's face when you're trying to read emotions. According to a report by Time, however, body language might be a better indicator than a facial expression.

Photo by Jaysin Trevino

The basic idea is that we're a lot better at reading heightened emotions based on body language rather than facial expression. The suggestion might seem a little counter-intuitive, but when speaking with a one of the study's authors, Hillel Aviezer, Time points out that that this is only the case when emotions are at their strongest:

He adds that we do, of course, read a great deal of salient day-to-day emotional information from faces — but only in certain situations. The reliability of that transmission, for example, appears to break down when emotions are at their strongest. The face contorts. We can tell that something major has happened, but it's tough to tell that something is dramatically positive or devastatingly negative.

We've talked before about how to read body language to find the underlying truth of a situation, as well as how your own body language might negatively project an emotion during a job interview. This study suggests it might be a good idea to pay even more attention to those cues.

To Really Read Emotions, Look at Body Language, Not Facial Expressions [Time]


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