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When perceiving emotions, we rely on the universally recognized facial expressions of happiness, sadness, surprise, anger, disgust, fear, and contempt. When shows a picture displaying one of these emotions, almost everyone can easily label it. We rely similarly on polygraph/lie-detector tests to determine the truth of a person's statement based on heart rate, sweat, etc. Between these two methods, it seems that people would be completely transparent. However, it is not quite so. The templates for basic emotions are hardly accurate in everyday life; these facial expressions can mix and are subject to variations depending on the exact emotion or the biology of the person. This can make faces difficult to read, often obscuring a person's true feelings. Also, not everyone will portray a "classic" facial expression because they are liable to cultural variations. As for the polygraph tests, all these really measure is the level of anxiety the person is experiencing. Anxiety or signs of nervousness do not necessarily denote guilt in an individual. According to chapter 11 of the text and journalist Steve Elias, polygraphs have a reputation for yielding false positives. After all, if an innocent person took a polygraph test knowing that the result could be a catastrophe for them, wouldn't they rightfully feel stressed?
Thus we can conclude that, due to inconsistency and error in physiological signs of emotion, lying is easier than you may have believed. Don't always believe what you see.

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Make your connections between the concepts of emotional detection and lie detection a little clearer. Cite your sources and use the link function in the body of your post. Include a picture imbedded into your post. Are lie detectors that examine micro-facial expressions more accurate? You might like to see the research of Paul Ekman on this topic.

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This page contains a single entry by dank0051 published on November 21, 2011 4:02 PM.

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