Can people actually tell the emotions from someone just by looking at their eyes like in books?

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Can people actually tell the emotions from someone just by looking at their eyes like in books?

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To a degree, depending on how expressive the person is, yes. There’s a reason a lot of pro poker players develop a “poker face”, or just wear big sunglasses.

Yes. It’s an aspect of social intelligence. There’s actually a test for it, called Reading the Mind in the Eyes, where you’re given black-and-white pictures of eyes with eyebrows and have to choose which one of the four complicated emotions is being displayed.

If you’re interested, the test is [here](https://www.autismresearchcentre.com/arc_tests/) (click Eyes Test – Adults for the instructions and test file) and the scientific paper explaining it is [here](https://depts.washington.edu/uwcssc/sites/default/files/hw00/d40/uwcssc/sites/default/files/Mind%20in%20the%20Eyes%20Scale_0.pdf) (pdf file). According to the paper, the average score is ~26 correct out of 36 questions for both men and women. It’s kind of fun to take – I didn’t think I’d be able to tell anything when I first took it, but you really are able to identify more than you think.

EDIT: There’s also a version that’s entirely online [here](http://kgajos.eecs.harvard.edu/mite/#). I think that one will score you automatically at the end, but you also have to answer some age/gender/income questions before starting so that the computer can compare your score to similar people.

I don’t know about other people, but I can certainly read my immediate future in my wife’s eyes.

Research Dr. Paul Ekman – scientist who studied micro-expressions and was the inspiration for the show *Lie To Me* starring Tim Roth.

Amazing work on recognising human emotion through facial muscle movements that last less than 1/20th of a second. His book *Telling Lies* is pretty interesting and became required reading for US government interrogators, but his other book *Emotions Revealed* is a how-to on doing it yourself and recognising emotions and intent in others.