Lie to Me: What Expression is This?

We often see different expressions in Lie to Me but don’t often get an explanation as to what expression it is, leaving the viewer to interpret the expression how they want.

This particular expression what seen in this past Monday’s episode of Lie to Me, “Bullet Bump” when the governor is questioned by Lightman. Many people think that this is an expression of shame- especially since the real-life examples shown afterward are of famous men who were unfaithful- Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards and Bill Clinton (all who were curiously politicians as well).

However, Dr. Matsumoto thinks this is an expression of control, where a person is trying to control their emotions and hide how they are truly feeling. Remember, there is no universal facial expression of shame, although judging by these images, it is easy to assume there is.

Here are some of the expressions for those that can’t watch the clip:

16 responses to “Lie to Me: What Expression is This?”

  1. Ben Morgan says:

    I can’t watch it, can you make it available to Canada?

  2. Owen Moore says:

    I am reminded also of the Tony Blair face when questioned at the WMD enquiry and part-contempt part control on the face of Stauffenberg before he tried to blow up Hitler. In Chapter 6 of the book “What the Face Reveals” the studies therein provide more detail as regards signs of appeasement, shame and embaressment. I am inclined to share Dr Matsumoto’s view on this facial expression; closure of the mouth in these pictoral examples would suggest control rather than shame. We do not however have video clips of the full behavioural traits associated with the individuals pictured. We should exercise caution during interpretation for fear of Othello’s & Brokaw’s Hazards. There appears to control similar to smile control in shame facial expressions but a snapshot in the absence of full video and context should cause us to exercise caution!!!

  3. Victoria Gallagher says:

    they are all showing regreet or disapointment, it could also be anger…i think it is disapointment

  4. Anita Pagan says:

    I think control well fits this description. The person realized he was caught. Shame, defeat are present, but immediate control over not showing more. Could it be?

  5. Helenann says:

    It’s not real shame. It’s what they think shame should look like, belied by relief. They’ve been holding in their deception for so long, they’re feeling relieved it’s finally out. The tightly closed lips are an unconscious way of holding in a sigh. Next time you’re stressed and get to breathe a sigh of relief, feel what your lips do right before you release. It’s what they’re doing, all the while trying to show shame (head and eyes down).

  6. Hernan says:

    Looks like shame and regret.

  7. Ben Morgan says:

    I think that the cause of the peron looking in a downwards direction is caused by them watching their footing. More like where they are going to step.
    When I felt this expression when I was biking, I felt like looking at my feet. They’re trying to watch where they’re going with it. I had also had added the lips.

  8. Hélio Narciso says:

    I think is shame, beacause everyone look down and the gest whit lips it´s regret.

  9. nadjib says:

    the other find some think about them that’s the face sad u got me

  10. ze says:

    it’s definitely regret.

  11. rod says:

    I believe it is fear. Write to me soon to let me if i am write or not. Thanks a lot.

  12. Dr. Matsumoto thinks this is an expression of control, where a person is trying to control their emotions and hide how they are truly feeling. Remember, there is no universal facial expression of shame, although judging by these images, it is easy to assume there is.

  13. Tiffany says:

    Granted agree in part it is very much eg of control, however if it was just about controlling how one feels, one would see it in those that are trying to contain joy, happiness and in positive moments. There is more to it than control, negative connotation of guilt perhaps? Ekman talks of shame in his book with that of sadness. During court cases and questioning I’ve noticed that Shame seems to be assoc with those that know more about the truth then they are letting on, and those devoid of shame during arrest, court proceedings tend to be found as innocent after months yrs of trial, interesting wouldn’t you say? Mere observation

  14. Tiffany says:

    Your right in these photos Shame as I’ve been observing certainly isn’t apparent! one even seems to be smiling as a microexpression, only Clinton has the downward spiral synominous with Shame. The rest; last ones an actors attempt at shame, 1st one is more accurate to be called Anger, note eyebrows slightly in combined with very prominent unilateral response of possible contempt, 2nd one is almost smiling, clinton photo semi ok shame depiction. Showing tight lipped control/concealment is accurate if thats what you wanted to demonstrate, saying these are photo’s under heading shame is not accurate, but agree more studies needed.

  15. Audrey says:

    I call it “concerned face” – an intentional (but false) attempt to appear sincerely concerned.

  16. Edgar says:

    Why is the picture in the middle present here. That is not a case of shame, it is more about embarrassment that I see. I am not an expert but I am thinking that if we look at the video of that day he would have probably looked to the right after this.

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