Lie to Me: The Biological Basis of Emotion

Paul Ekman studies "the lies that society cares about catching and generally disapproves of." After all, we lie most often to avoid punishment for breaking a rule.

 

 

When Paul Ekman looks at you he is invading your privacy. Ekman is an expert at reading so-called micro expressions that reveal what you are thinking and also what you might be trying to conceal. You can imagine how useful this tool is for law enforcement and counterterrorism. That is why Ekman was named by Time magazine as one of the World's 100 Most Influential People. Tim Roth's crime-fighting character in the Fox series Lie to Me was based on Ekman and his work at The Lightman Group. 


And yet, Ekman says anyone can do what he does, and to that end he has made the Micro Expression Training Tool available online. He says 100,000 people have used this tool to learn how to spot concealed emotions. It takes less than an hour. 

What's the Big Idea?

When Charles Darwin made his famous five-year voyage on the Beagle he met many people around the world whose languages he didn’t share and yet he thought he could understand them through their facial expressions.

Darwin could never prove this, but Ekman has. 

In fact, Ekman has found that facial expressions express seven emotions - fear, anger, sadness, disgust, surprise, enjoyment, and contempt. These seven emotions individually represent a "family of emotions." In other words, there are many different variations to the type of anger someone might be feeling, and expressing. These emotions and their corresponding micro expressions are shared across cultures. 

Since these expressions show our true emotions, our faces often betray us. So how do we wish to make use of Ekman's tool, and who should make use of it? Ekman says he studies "the lies that society cares about catching and generally disapproves of." After all, we lie most often to avoid punishment for breaking a rule.

Watch the video here:

Space is dead: A challenge to the standard model of quantum mechanics

Since the idea of locality is dead, space itself may not be an aloof vacuum: Something welds things together, even at great distances.

Videos
  • Realists believe that there is an exactly understandable way the world is — one that describes processes independent of our intervention. Anti-realists, however, believe realism is too ambitious — too hard. They believe we pragmatically describe our interactions with nature — not truths that are independent of us.
  • In nature, properties of Particle B may be depend on what we choose to measure or manipulate with Particle A, even at great distances.
  • In quantum mechanics, there is no explanation for this. "It just comes out that way," says Smolin. Realists struggle with this because it would imply certain things can travel faster than light, which still seems improbable.
Keep reading Show less

Vaping changes blood vessels after one use, even without nicotine

E-cigarettes may be safer than traditional cigarettes, but they come with their own risks.


John Keeble
/GETTY
Surprising Science
  • A new study used an MRI machine to examine how vaping e-cigarettes affects users' cardiovascular systems immediately after inhalation.
  • The results showed that vaping causes impaired circulation, stiffer arteries and less oxygen in their blood.
  • The new study adds to a growing body of research showing that e-cigarettes – while likely safer than traditional cigarettes – are far from harmless.
Keep reading Show less

Russia sends humanoid robot to space, fails to dock with ISS

The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.

Photos by TASS\TASS via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Russia launched a spacecraft carrying FEDOR, a humanoid robot.
  • Its mission is to help astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
  • Such androids can eventually help with dangerous missions likes spacewalks.
Keep reading Show less