Lie to Me Season 2 Episode 8 “Secret Santa” Comments
With Cal Lightman in Afghanistan, it’s a great time to think about the science, and what has been validated scientifically and not.
In reality, did you know that while there is a lot of data demonstrating the universality of facial expressions of emotion, there is no study published yet (at least that I know of) that demonstrates the existence of microexpressions in people of different cultures? And there is no study yet that demonstrates that microexpressions are produced when people of different cultures are lying. (I know that doesn’t really affect the show, because Lightman interrogated an American in Afghanistan, not Afghans. But the show prompted me to reflect on what has and has not been empirically demonstrated.)
That having been said, however, I would like to clarify that by noting that that kind of data doesn’t exist because I don’t know of anyone who has tried to test the theory of microexpressions and deception cross-culturally.
In my experience, I have every reason to believe that they act the same way across cultures, and I would bet not only that microexpressions occur all around the world, but also play the same role during deception.
It would also be different if researchers had tried to test it and produced negative results. But that’s not the case. The data does’t exist because it hasn’t been tested. This indeed is an area that is ripe for further scientific exploration.
These issues are of great importance when we consider efforts to apply microexpressions, and the larger field of behavioral analysis, to the understanding of people of different cultures. Seems to me we sorely need such research to occur.
Oh and by the way, there is no data on an expression of hope either.