Julia Louis-Dryfus recently appeared on Conan O'Brien's show and the talented actress gave us an example of a body language-facial expression which, within the context of this interview, most people would accurately characterize as disbelief. She calls out Conan on his version of a story from the White House Correspondence Dinner last weekend. Captured below in a still image, and present throughout much of the first part of the video above, Ms. Louis-Dryfus's central forehead is actively contracted (CFC) with the lateral portions of her forehead relaxed, which faciliates her inner eyebrows being elevated - in the presence of a partial mouth smile (social mouth smile). If the mouth lacks a smile however, even a little one - it indicates a completely different emotion.
Again, her body language-facial expression is read accurately here by most people - at least partially because of Julia's dramatic verbal displays of incredulity. If these same people would watch this video without sound, their interpretive accuracy drops significantly.
How skilled are you at recognizing this facial expression (or thousands of others) when it is much more subtle? How about when there are no verbal signals of disbelief (when someone is saying yes, yet thinking no)? This facial nonverbal cluster is displayed billions of time a day - and yet its significance goes either unrecognized or misinterpreted by the masses.
What should come to mind if you see this expression (CFC in the presence of a social mouth smile) chronically?
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