First Impression: Emotion

Many people have told me that they can read my facial expressions like a book. You do not have to be an expert to read my facial expressions. Once it was brought to my attention, I have been trying harder not to wear my feelings on my face but it is hard to do. Although people can easily tell my emotional expressions, I on the other hand, struggle on that topic. According to the test that I took I am in the average range of being able to tell people’s emotional expression. My score was 12/20, going into the test I honestly thought I knew a lot about reading emotional expressions but I realized that is something that I need to work on. A question that crossed while taking the test was: Do people express their emotions in different ways? If so, how can we really tell what emotion is what? I could not tell the difference between being polite and being happy. If someone walks past you and smiles couldn’t they be showing happiness and politeness? I was good at telling when someone was being flirtatious because of the way she tilted her head when she smiled and the way she made eye contact. Another easy emotional expression I could detect was interest, because the person’s eyebrows were raised and their eyes were big. I decided to take the test again and got 16/20, which is above average. With practice, anyone can improve on their ability to read emotional expressions.

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2 thoughts on “First Impression: Emotion

  1. Lauryn, I was on the same page as you, I often was told that my facial expressions were very noticeable even when I did not even notice myself. I then also started becoming more consciously aware of how I was acting towards a situation. Your post was interesting for me to read because I honestly thought that reading peoples facial expressions was something that everyone could just do. I find it natural to read peoples faces and realized that it is not always easy to everyone. In regards to your question about if people express their emotions in different ways. I read before and it was discussed in the video that we watched in class that no matter people gender, race, ethnicity, culture etc. they express their emotions the same. An example of this was the blind athletes expressing their happiness the same that the seeing athletes did. I think that possibly the way people handle their emotions would be different but when reading faces it is generally the same from person to person. Overall I really enjoyed reading your post and found it very interesting and thought-provoking.

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  2. The ability for most of your friends to read your emotions easily may mean that you are an extraverted. Many extraverts or outgoing people have emotions easier to detect and introverts are usually better at reading these emotional facial expressions. Considering gender females are also said to show greater empathy and have less difficulty distinguishing emotions than men. In your blog you questioned if people express their emotions in different ways, however it says in our class book and we learned that non verbal communication of facial expressions tends to be the same regardless of cultural, age, or racial differences Children often express the same emotions in the same ways as adults. Even the blind who have never seen a face will demonstrate the same sort of facial expressions with emotions. The book says, “There is no culture where people frown when they are happy” (399). As for your question can two emotions be shown as once, Carroll Izard would agree with you on this. She believes the emotion love is merely a combination of joy and interest/ excitement. Some emotions share common biological signatures. Even though a single brain region can consist of different emotions the expression of these emotions look different to others and feel different to us.

    Book referenced:
    Myers, D. and Dewall, N. Motivation and Emotion. Exploring Psychology, 10th ed, pp.386-403.

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