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    Class Aims To Teach The Art Of Reading Micro-Expressions


    by IBTimes

    Its something we do every day… at work, on the bus, at home, on the street – We read people.But the question is, are we any good at it? Are we just ‘looking' at people? Or are we truly ‘seeing' them…We stopped by LifeLabs in New York to learn how to notice and read micro-expressions, which, unlike regular facial expressions, are much more difficult to hide.Micro-expressions are the small contractions of the facial muscles that last only tenths of a second, and Dr. LeeAnn Renninger, the teacher of LifeLabs's ‘Seeing People' course, is an expert on what those contractions mean.In this 2.5 hour class, people learn how to detect and read these micro-expressions, giving them better insight into someone's true intentions.The lab is based on Dr. LeeAnn Renninger's reseach on memory and the 5 senses, Paul Ekman's research on facial expressions, and Karl Grammer's research on movement cues. Through the use of high tech imaging software, used to train detectives and secret service abroad, we were able to  test our people reading skills at the beginning of the lab and again at the end, to measure our progress.LeeAnn must know what she is talking about, because my score for the pre-test was a 9/14, and by the end, I got 100% of the questions correct. There are 7 universal expressions that each have very unique characteristics, they include happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, disgust, and contempt.Some emotions have clear hotspots, such as an inner corner eyebrow raise for sadness, one corner of the mouth raised for contempt, and a tense lower lip for fear.The trick is learning how to see these signs, and act accordingly.Occasionally you will witness a mixed emotion, which is some combination of the 7 universal expressions, and it takes a little more time to pinpoint the various key indicators. Everyone in the class had to pair up with a partner and give examples of what they believed the 7 expressions looked like.LeeAnn, the Director of LifeLabs which she founded in 2002, wanted to provide a place where people can learn useful life skills.LeeAnn explained that one of the most common misconceptions about the ‘Seeing People' lab is that people go in  thinking they will learn how to become a human lie-detector.Instead, LeeAnn wants people to learn how to read people better in order to facilitate better honest communication, not call them out for lying. The target audience for these labs is broad. These unique classes attract business men, teachers, students, law enforcement officials, and many more. LifeLabs has a few classes every week, for 30-40 people, and they are continually booked.Some of the other labs they offer include body language, decision making, and productivity lab.For more information about upcoming classes visit