Dominance Displays: 2014 World Series


The 2014 World Series ended with the San Francisco Giants narrowly winning 3-2 over the Kansas City Royals. It had been 35 years since the last road team won Game 7.

The final out of the 9th inning was made when Giant Pablo Sandoval caught a foul ball. The picture above shows him moments after catching the game winning ball.

It’s a great example of a dominance display.

In a study conducted by researchers at San Francisco State University, led by Humintell Director Dr. David Matsumoto, it turns out that athletes’ first reaction after victory is to strut. Or at least the modern version of it, which includes throwing their hands up in the air, puffing out their chest and pulling their head back, all while wearing an enormous grin of satisfaction on their faces. This so called “victory stance” may be inherited and athletes instinctively display this “aggressive dominance” over their opponent.

Look familiar?

Take a look at the pose of Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner at virtually the same moment.

JV_102914_WS_GAME_7 1508

Walk Happy, Be Happy :)

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Research has shown that that forcing yourself to smile can improve your mood. Well, a new study published online in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry shows that walking in a happy manner may make you happier, too.

The study entitled “How we walk affects what we remember: Gait modifications through biofeedback change negative affective memory bias” led by Johannes Michalak, et al, showed 39 undergraduates words associated with happiness (such as pretty) and words associated with depression (such as anxious). The participants were then asked to walk on a treadmill for 15 minutes.

While walking, a screen showed the subjects a gauge that moved left or right depending on whether their walking style was more depressed or happier, but the subjects didn’t know what the gauge was measuring; they were just told to get it to move either to the right or to the left.

Unknowingly, the participants changed their walking patterns to either reflect the characteristics of depressed patients, with poorer posture and little to no arm-swinging, or a happy walking style, with an upright posture and swinging arms.

Afterwards, the subjects were asked to write down as many of the words they were shown as they could remember. Those who walked in a slumped over, depressed manner were able to recall fewer of the positive words and more of the negative words than had those who had walked with a pep in their step.

This, the authors conclude, means that the people who’d walked as if they were sad did, in fact, end up feeling sadder.

So the next time you’re feeling down, put a smile on your face and walk with a pep in your step- it may make you feel better!


Digital Media, Reading Emotions & Children

mag-kids-analog_main-4_3A new study conducted by Patricia Greenfield at UCLA suggests that children’s social skills may be declining as they have less time for face-to-face interaction due to their increased use of digital media.

Greenfield, et al’s study entitled “Five days at outdoor education camp without screens improves preteen skills with nonverbal emotion cues” will be published in this month’s journal edition of Computers in Human Behavior.

The psychologists found that sixth-graders who went five days without even glancing at a smartphone, television or other digital screen did substantially better at reading human emotions than sixth-graders from the same school who continued to spend hours each day looking at their electronic devices. They studied two sets of sixth-graders from a Southern California public school: 51 who lived together for five days at the Pali Institute, a nature and science camp about 70 miles east of Los Angeles, and 54 others from the same school.

At the beginning and end of the study, both groups of students were evaluated for their ability to recognize other people’s emotions in photos and videos. The students were shown 48 pictures of faces that were happy, sad, angry or scared, and asked to identify their feelings.

The children who had been at the camp improved significantly over the five days in their ability to read facial emotions and other nonverbal cues to emotion, compared with the students who continued to use their media devices.

“You can’t learn nonverbal emotional cues from a screen in the way you can learn it from face-to-face communication,” said lead author Yalda Uhls, a senior researcher with the UCLA’s Children’s Digital Media Center, Los Angeles. “If you’re not practicing face-to-face communication, you could be losing important social skills.”

For more information on this study, please view this write up on UCLA newsroom

Moments of Emotion from Around the Globe

This episode of The Weekly Flickr, profiles photographer Mimo Khair. From the streets of Shanghai to remote villages in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mimo has traveled the world capturing moments of emotion on the road. Her stunning profiles of those she meets help illustrate the connectedness of the human race.

Detecting Deception: Are You Being Lied to?

BN1213-NonverbalsWritten for Tactics and Preparedness, Issue 6, April 2014
By Dr. Hyi Sung Hwang and Dr. David Matsumoto

Behavioral anomalies are verbal and nonverbal signs of cognitions and emotions that give additional clues to what an individual is thinking and feeling beyond the content of the words being spoken. We can improve our ability to detect lies by becoming more skillful in reading the reliable nonverbal behavioral indicators to lying. The first and most important step is to learn to recognize facial expressions of emotions that are called basic emotions. Basic emotions have various fruitful and discrete characteristics. For one, they appear to be universal and spontaneous and thus difficult to hide once the subject is emotional. That means all people, regardless of race, culture, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, religion or any other demographic variable, express emotions on their faces in similar ways. The basic, universal emotions that are commonly communicated and identified are anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise. Here are examples of the facial expressions of emotion that research over the past four decades suggest are universally expressed and recognized.

Most of us may be easily able to identify each emotion listed in the static photo images illustrated. In real life, however, those emotional expressions on the face are sometimes not held long enough for us to catch them, disappearing so quickly that we don’t notice them. These expressions are impossible to completely control, just as we cannot or do not count the numbers of blinks of our eyes. These expressions are called microexpressions.

Micro-expressions have been well known as a critical source of information in deception detection. They are very fast fleeting expressions of concealed emotions, sometimes as fast as 1/15th of a second. The reason they are so quick is that they “leak out” very quickly despite the fact that the individual may be trying to conceal them. Most untrained people do not notice them in daily social interactions. They are immediate, automatic and unconscious reactions. However, once you get used to recognizing them, you will see that they are the closest thing to a universal language.

What we have to remember for our hybrid learning process is to practice to read those emotional expressions on the face in real life, especially at similar speeds to the ones that actually occur in our lives and especially during stressful interactions and situations. If you can, observe certain micro-expressions that are flashed by a subject during your dialogue. For example, you may consider that there may be concealed thoughts, feelings or pinions held by this individual that are not being verbalized. This does not always necessarily refer to a signal of deception; rather, they provide clues or you to know what topic to explore and where to investigate closely and carefully in order to rule out any possible deceptive clues. For example, a fearful flash on the face may be a good stop station for you to understand the background of why the individual expressed it or what the person was afraid of disclosing. Of course, at the end, whether you can successfully obtain accurate information and answers to your questions may depend on your rapport with the individual and your communication strategies. The nonverbal indicators can flag you where to pay attention during the limited time of your interaction.

As a second step, understanding the context in which micro-expressions occur would be valuable because the potential inconsistency between the expressions and the context often means that the subject feels something differently than what is being said. For example, if you observed your subject displaying a earful face when he or she said, “I definitely did not meet the guy,” you may want to avoid jumping to a conclusion that the person did not really meet the guy because the context in this case, the person’s statement, informed you that the behavioral indicator does not match the context. We call it a hot spot here practitioners should carefully interpret the meaning of the individual’s reported information in relation to the microexpression displayed. Although someone is faking an emotion, there are times when an inconsistent behavioral indicator with the context does not give you a simple final answer concerning f the subject is lying or not. It would aid you to get closer to the facts and to understand what is being said and not.

Facial expressions of emotion and microexpressions are largely involuntary reactions and important nonverbal behavioral indicators that can be important cues to deception that can be applicable across people of different cultures. In many situations, the interviewer is primarily focused on the story being told and not so much on how it is old and what is being shown when it is told. Thus, just as it is often fruitful to evaluate politicians based on their actions, policies and achievements ather than the words they speak, when communicating with others one should pay attention to the validated facial expressions of emotion and micro- xpressions. Of course, it sounds easier than it is in practice because observing multiple behavioral channels while simultaneously participating in the act f communicating is never simple. However, training and practicing the ability to recognize micro-expressions can aid individuals to be more accurately aware of potential hotspots in deception detection. We believe that continued discipline based on scientific evidence will strengthen an individual’s accuracy of eception detection and aid in assessing an entire story more accurately.

Copyright © Humintell 2014