Questions Answered by Dr. Matsumoto Part 2

Osaka World Judo ChampionshipsQ1. (Michel) I would love to learn about the non-basic emotions; like shame, guilt and disbelief. I saw a video-clip where Paul Ekman spotted deception by a micro-expression of disbelief – even if there isn’t any concluded work done on the subject, I think many of us would like to learn about what is known so far. I also think it could be really great if you made a tele-seminar on detecting deception.

A.(Dr. Matsumoto) These emotions that you speak of such as shame, guilt and disbelief belong in a different class than basic emotions: anger, fear, sadness, happiness, surprise, contempt and disgust. They are in a class called self-conscious emotions. One characteristic of these emotions is that they require some evaluative component of one self. There has been some research done on these emotions, but not as much as research done on basic emotions. I would suggest that if you want to learn about the emotions of shame and guilt you read Freud. A more contemporary researcher is June Tanglney. I would also recommend you read work done by researchers as Keltner at UC Berkeley and Tracy at the University of British Columbia as well as look at my personal website for research done in these areas.

Q2. (JYP) Do you think Left brain/right brain affects in any way the body language? A person talking about private matter would rather use left part of his body and a person talking about external matters would rather use the right part?

A.(Dr. Matsumoto) I am not an expert in brain matters. However, I believe that the left/right brain dichotomy is artificial and unrealistic. From my understanding, the brain processes information across both hemispheres and very quickly. Therefore it doesn’t make sense that only one part of the brain would control body language. In addition, there has been little or no research to my knowledge that shows hemispheric specialization associated with expressive behavior.

Q3. Do drugs like Beta Blockers (or others) intentionally taken for the purpose of deception, ALTER the way you are able to read that person’s facial expressions?

A.(Dr. Matsumoto) I am also not an expert in psycho pharmacology. From my personal experience I believe there is no research that examines this question. Given that, I think that drugs such as beta blockers make no difference in reading others. However, there probably is a big difference in how those expressions may be interpreted.

Q4. (Andrew) How is your research on cultural emblems progressing? What have you found so far and is there any prelim data you would be willing to share?

A.    (Dr. Matsumoto) The research is going great. We have many new and unexpected findings. However, we are not yet ready to disclose these findings. We hope to disclose our findings within the next 6 months.

Q5.  (WC) What is the quickest way to establish a baseline with somebody you just met?

A. (Dr. Matsumoto) The simple answer to how to this question is to watch and listen to them. However, this question is impossible to answer without knowing the context of the situation.

Q6.  (Steven) With some of the training I have taken, I have noticed that if I do not put forth practice making observations any skill set is diminished as time passes by. What do you recommend as a way to keep sharp on observations, types of practice, etc.

A.  (Dr. Matsumoto) My advice to you is that you keep practicing but that you don’t practice the wrong thing. It’s important that you keep verifying that you are practicing the right material in the right way. Do your research- look for articles on the topic from reputable sources to double check you are on the right path.

Q7. (Thomas) How does mTBI possibly affect a patient’s ability to read the facial expressions of his spouse and children as well as the facial expressions of strangers? Would one of your training modules be appropriate for use with these patients?

A.    (Dr. Matsumoto) The effect of mTBI on a patient’s ability to read the facial expressions of others would of course, depend on the type and location of the injury as well as the severity. It is possible that our training would be appropriate for these patients. However, it is tough to say without knowing more about the situation.

Q8. (Aimee) Hi, in one day I have finished all the commercial tests that are available. They are all WAY TOO EASY for me. I’m scoring 100% or nearly 100% all of the time. Increasing the speed does not decrease my success rate. I am looking for something more challenging to actually improve my skill. What do you suggest?

A.  (Dr. Matsumoto) I would suggest watching videos and people. Detecting spontaneous behavior is always more difficult.

2 responses to “Questions Answered by Dr. Matsumoto Part 2”

  1. Ian Trudel says:

    This is another great Q&A. Thanks, Dr. Matsumoto.

    I particularly like Q&A6. I strongly believe that these are skills to be developed and used throughout an entire life time. It’s a lot of work before one gets to a comfortable level. Studying universal emotions is just the beginning, there are other emotions, and it can be partial and mixed. Practice makes perfect.


  2. I like to read more about basic emotions, what books will you recommend me to read? Thanks, David

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