Questions Answered by Dr. Matsumoto Part 1


Thank to you everyone for your overwhelming response to the “Submit your questions to Dr. Matsumoto” post last week.

Since we have had so many good questions, we are splitting the answer session into 2 parts.

If your question does not get answered below, rest assured that it will be answered in the next blog post.

Q1. (Ben) I have been informed that D3 is still in the research stage an it could put users at risk, so why is it being sold as a training tool and if it is to be used, it should be noted that it is still in the research stage!

A1. (Dr. Matsumoto) In answer to your question, in any sense, all our training tools are currently in the research stage because we are constantly conducting new research studies to measure its effectiveness, validity, etc. Knowledge is never static. Given this fact, in direct answer to your question, there is no controversy that the 2 faces that we are teaching in D3 are dangerous faces. Law enforcement officers have asked that we provide any information we have and thus this is why we have D3. However, in addition to these 2 faces, there may be additional dangerous faces that we may not be aware of. Therefore, we will be continuing to conduct research in this area in the future.

Q2. (Warren) For those of us who would like to take further training in the field of microexpressions and deception detection, where would be the first places you would direct us?

A2. (Dr. Matsumoto) The first thing that I recommend is that you learn everything you possibly can to develop your skills in these areas. Of course, you will want to take microexpression training and subtle expressions training until you reach the master level. Then I would recommend that you do your research. Read everything that has been written about the topic (I can also give you some ideal reading suggestions). Finally, study people’s behaviors. Observe and watch everything that people do to try and understanding people’s complex behaviors. In our society, we are taught that words mean everything and to ignore the nonverbals. Try to go against this and look for nonverbal cues. Try to decipher what they mean. Reading people can be done in the simplest of places: at a coffee shop, restaurant, mall, park, even a bus stop.

Q3. (Sandra) I’m interested in invisible signs of lies, the height of the liar’s voice and speed of the heartbeat the most. What is the height of a liar’s voice?

A3. (Dr. Matsumoto) In response to your question, there have been a number of studies that investigated vocal cues to deception, however the results are still not clear. What is important to understand is that vocal changes can be a sign of deception, if it deviates from that person’s baseline. A simple change in pitch when a person is answering a question is not necessarily a sign of deceit- it may in fact just be something that the person does normally. It important to take these things into consideration when determining fact from fiction, but remember that there is no pinnochio effect!

Q4. (Steven) My question related to those people that may be functioning at a lower than average cognitive level (those with brain injuries, birth defects, etc). Do they exhibit microexpressions the same as those without any impairments? Is the potential leakage the same or is it processed differently due to the cognitive differences?

A4. In short, there has been little research done as to whether individuals such as those you mentioned, exhibit microexpressions the same as those without any impairments, so we simply do not know. My personal opinion is that the potential leakage is probably not processed any differently. However, it would also depend on the nature of the defect and or injury.

Q5. (Robert) How many people do you think have the ability to control their subconscious body movement in such a way that it does not leak what they are thinking/feeling?

A5. (Dr. Matsumoto) People definitely have the ability to be trained to control not to leak what they are thinking or feeling. However, most people don’t and its very difficult to do so without any formal training. So the answer to your question is not very many people.

Q6. (Ben) Do you believe automated FACS-coding programs are currently viable, and if so, why isn’t there they expected explosion in applied research?

A6. (Dr. Matsumoto) The automated FACS coding programs that I know of currently are not bad but not yet ready to deal with spontaneous behaviors such as change in lighting, movement, etc. This is probably why there hasn’t been an explosion in applied research in regards to this.

Q7. (David) I think I am a natural. Can it be possible that I am a natural?  (Oscar) I think I am a natural…whats your advice on how to make the most of this ability?

A7. (Dr. Matsumoto) In answer to your questions yes, it is definitely possible that you can be a natural. The best advice that I can give to you regarding this ability is that you use it wisely. As popularized by Spider Man, this quote says it best: “With great power comes great reponsibility”. This is especially true for this situation. Don’t start analyzing every person you meet and use the skills that you have in the appropriate situations.

Q8. (Markus) I wonder about any work on the nonverbal behaviors of psychopaths. I know psychopaths don’t feel remorse, guilt or regret so they don’t give away such clues. Do they give other clues to deceit? Have there been any studies on what might give away the psychopath?

A8. (Dr. Matsumoto) There has been no formal study on psychopaths or sociopaths. However, I would imagine that the clues to deceit are the same as a “normal” persons and that their emotional reactions would not differ greatly from ours. However, it is important to note that the things that elicit emotional reactions may be different in psychopaths or sociopaths. For example, what makes a psychopath happy may in fact be something that disgusts “normal” people and vice versa.

4 responses to “Questions Answered by Dr. Matsumoto Part 1”

  1. Q2. You can also practice by watching the news, especially interviews. Lots of people in the public eye are trying to conceal their past actions. We all lie.

  2. Ian Trudel says:

    Q5. This is related in “Telling Lies” by Dr. Paul Ekman, I believe. To sum it up: It’s possible but most likely require master zen abilities. Anyway, that’s interesting because even actors leak when they are acting. For example, when an actor play a character that has a completely opposite personality than his or her own, microexpressions are sometimes seen and it turns out completely weird (and out of character for the character played). When actors manage to portray expressions correctly, they most often have no glitch or microexpressions, which is equally weird.

    Q8. Have a look at Ted Bundy… once you get over the “charm” and fast pace, there are some clues leaked.


  3. BenS says:

    Q8. The only study I know of on psychopaths is
    Patrick, C.J.; Bradley, M. M. & Lang, P.J. (1993). Emotion in the criminal psychopath: Startle reflex modulation. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 102(1), 82-92.
    finding that psychopaths have reduced or absent Startle reflexes on exposure to upsetting images. Could be useful, since the Startle reflex is near-impossible to simulate properly or alternatively inhibit.

    There’s much more research on other mental illnesses, for example:
    Ekman, P., Matsumoto, D. & Friesen, W.V. (2005). ‘Facial Expression in Affective Disorders.’ What the Face Reveals. P. Ekman and E. Rosenberg. (eds). New York, Oxford, Oxford University Press: 430-439.
    analyzing patterns of various conditions.

  4. […] ci dessous la partie 1 des questions posées à David Matsumoto sur son site : Question 1, (Ben) : J’ai pris […]

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