How Can Learning Microexpressions Help People?
We often get numerous emails about the practical use of microexpression training and if it has been proven to be beneficial to learn.
The simple answer is yes.
Microexpression training has been scientifically proven to help improve not only the average person in recognizing these expressions, but also a number of clinical groups.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, schizophrenia is a “chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder that affects 1.1 percent of the US Population 18 or older.” Common symptoms of schizophrenia include “hearing voices that others don’t hear, believing that others are broadcasting their thoughts to the world or becoming convinced that others are plotting to harm them.”
There have been several studies that have shown that microexpression training benefits people with schizophrenia in their ability to read emotions and track faces. (Frommann, Streit, & Wolwer, 2003; Russell, Chu, & Phillips, 2006; Russell, Green, Simpson, & Coltheart, 2008; Silver, Goodman, Knoll, & Isakov, 2004; Wolwer, Frommann, Halfmann, Piaszek, Streit, & Gaebel, 2005)
This breakthrough research allows for the possibility of using a microexpression training tool, like MiX, as a non-pharmacological intervention technique to treat individuals who are affected by this disorder.
In addition, there has been much emotion training literature that has been focused on training people with developmental or social disabilities, including individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome (e.g., Barnhill, Cook, Tebbenkamp, & Myles, 2002), Autism (Bolte, Hubl, Feineis-Matthews, Prvulovic, Dierks, & Poustka, 2006; Solomon, Goodlin-Jones, & Anders, 2004), mental retardation (McAlpine, Singh, Ellis, & Kendall, 1992; Stewart & Singh, 1995), to individuals with acquired brain injury (Guercio, Podolska-Schroeder, & Rehfeldt, 2004).
Many of these studies show that it is possible to train these individuals to improve their perceptions of the emotions of others and often fairly quickly- with positive results within a single training session. These results also persist beyond the training session and are often with positive effects on their interactions with others (e.g. Solomon, et al, 2004)
These results are both facinating and optimistic for the future.
Microexpression training could be the next step in helping people with developmental or social disabilities groups to read emotions and track faces without the use of pharmaceutical drugs.