Are facial expressions universal? It seems clear that some facial expressions, like those expressing sadness or happiness, are universal–but are they? We’ll cover the research on whether facial expressions are universal. Along the way, we’ll look at some of the dangers of making assumptions about people based on their facial cues and body language.
The primary reason that most people cannot immediately identify when a stranger is lying is that human beings default to assuming truth in others. This is called the Truth-Default Theory. Is it possible to learn how to spot a liar? We’ll cover why it’s so hard to know how to spot a liar and discuss some biases to look out for.
What is Paul Ekman’s FACS (facial action coding system)? What can it teach you about how transparent our emotions really are? Can you read someone’s feelings on her face? We’ll cover how Paul Ekman’s FACS system works and why you shouldn’t always judge people’s feelings or intentions by their facial expressions.
In our modern, seemingly borderless world, we have no choice but to interact with strangers. Yet we, as a society, are incompetent at making sense of the strangers we come across. So what should we do? Can we learn how to talk to strangers? We’ll discuss the three problems that cause us to have failed interactions with strangers and discuss how to talk to strangers in ways that are more successful. From Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers.
Being able to detect lies seems like an unequivocal good. The Russian archetype of the Holy Fool demonstrates the benefits of being able to see the truth of a situation. Who is the Holy Fool? The Holy Fool is typically an eccentric character, sometimes even a crazy one, who has access to truths that other characters don’t have access to. The Holy Fool can be seen particularly in Russian stories and those by Hans Christian Anderson, such as “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” In modern times, the “Holy Fool” in society is often a whistleblower. We’ll cover the attributes of the
Why do we make assumptions about people, especially strangers? What are the consequences of the assumptions we make? Can we retrain ourselves and our interactions with strangers? We’ll cover Malcolm Gladwell’s theory about why we make assumptions about people, from his book Talking to Strangers. As we’ll see, it’s not hard to correct this tendency.
Do people make the same facial expressions in different cultures? More importantly, do they mean the same thing? We’ll cover one study that indicates that facial expressions in different cultures do not indicate the same feelings. Learn why you can never make assumptions about how people feel based on their faces, especially people from different cultural backgrounds.
Who is Harry Markopolos? How was he able to discover Bernie Madoff’s crimes before everyone else? And why did it take so long for everyone else to realize them? Harry Markopolos is a financial expert who’s deeply skeptical of large organizations, and of people in general. He discovered Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. He has a very low threshold for doubt. Consequently, his trigger point is extremely sensitive. We’ll cover how Harry Markopolos knew something was wrong with Madoff’s trading strategies and why Markopolos failed to get anyone’s attention.
The primary reason that most people can’t immediately detect a lie is that human beings default to assuming truth in others. Is it possible to learn how to detect a lie? We’ll cover the reasons it’s difficult to know how to detect a lie, and we’ll look at why you’ve evolved to assume the best in people.
Who was Patrick Dale Walker? Why was he let out on bail? How could such atrocities be prevented in the future? Patrick Dale Walker was a Texan who was arrested for attempting to murder his girlfriend. Even though the crime was serious, the judge set his bail at $25,000 and let him go. Find out what happened in the Patrick Dale Walker case and why it’s so easy for a judge to make a devastating mistake.