The sixth chapter of Blink by Malcolm Gladwell: The Power of Thinking without Thinking pays close attention to how the facial expression that occurs subconsciously can be used to determine the behavioral characteristics among different groups of individuals. In his discussion, Gladwell brings on board the Facial Coding System as developed by Wallace Friesen and Paul Ekman from a Swedish anatomist used in the cataloging of facial expressions. Gladwell says that it took Ekman and Friesen more than seven years of hard work to identify and catalog the thousands facial expression that a human face uses to express different emotions. Ekman and Friesen come up with about ten thousand facial expressions resulting from combinations of different facial muscles. They worked through each of the ten thousand facial expressions identifying about three thousands of them that seemed to mean something until they had classified the essential repertoire of human facial emotional displays. The rest was just the kind of meaningless faces made by children. They singled out combinations of facial movements or tics that gave the impression that specific reflexive reactions or thought process were reactions to external spurs. Previously in his analysis, Gladwell refers to another psychologist who deliberately studied human feelings and how they are manifested externally. The psychologist gave a detailed account of a test subject who had a wrong thought that she was skillful at regulating her outward emotional expression. They had the belief that the woman was incredibly emotional but the woman herself didn't know that she was emotional. The woman thought herself as stoic with nothing to give away regarding facial expressions. Most people are just like her, whereby they view themselves as more forthcoming than they are or even more harmful than they are in a real sense.
Training individuals to manipulate and control their facial expressions to conceal their real thoughts or emotions is hardly news. Actors precisely train to express feelings that they may (but in most cases don't) feel. The crucial distinction between actors who play a minor role and those referred to as "method" actors who submerge themselves so deeply into the fictional character is that they persist to "be" the fictional character even when conducting their things. By staying in character, they can provide a more realistic or convincing portrait of the persona they are supposed to be playing us. However, the method character simply expresses the facial expressions required by the script. Similarly, a variety of politicians tend to convey positive images that do not necessarily reflect their true emotions. Majority of politicians have the superior ability to adjust their facial expressions and mannerisms upon the presence of the journalists, lobbyists, constituents, or when with colleagues with whom they don't or do get along among many other situations. Politicians, as well as people who cannot develop or practice the skill of switching faces as required by the situation, are referred to as temperamental, or "grumpy" and reporters very much like to film them at their true selves.
Majority of people, time to time, tend to wear different or hypocritical faces as they interact with other individuals. For various reasons, it is necessary to present a given look to relatives, the public, business associates, and friends among others who may have not the ability to reflect our actual emotions. People conceal their feelings from others to exploit other people or processes; a way of "keeping their cards close to their chest." The skill of wearing a "poker face," for example can bring about success or failure in certain undertakings. Like the old saying about "keeping a stiff upper lip" some practiced traits like stoicism have been employed in times of adversity as a defining characteristic of the British. Many of the British have hence taken pride in their ability to conceal their emotions even through terrible experiences. In professions like politics and law, hiding your feelings from other people consequently denying them the opportunity to read your mind is a crucial component of face-to-face conversations. As human beings, we are inherently flawed. When feeling guilty, we may want to appear contrite; we may want to smile when overwhelmed by sadness. It's all dictated by the circumstances.
In conclusion, Gladwell emphasizes on the judgment we form as well the impression we derive about other people as the most important and the most common forms of rapid cognition. At any given moment, when we are with someone else, we continuously come up with a continuous stream of inferences and predictions about what the other person is feeling or thinking. People easily dissect intricate distinctions in facial expressions. However, "mind-reading failure," as referred to by Gladwell, may lead to shuttering results like those of the shooting that took place in the Bronx on 3rd of February 1999. Diallo was out getting some air at the steps of his apartment but was fatally shot by policemen due to mind reading failure. Gladwell, however, admits that mind reading failure can happen to anyone as it is a common mistake. He says that these failures are rooted in countless arguments, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and disagreements. The instantaneousness and mysteriousness of these failures make it hard for us to understand them.
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