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  • - From the time we're born,

  • we spend an inordinate amount of time

  • studying each other's faces.

  • As babies we can recognize that big smile

  • that we see of that caring mother

  • looking down on us and so forth.

  • But we're confronted with many variants of that.

  • Just take a look at these, all examples of smiles.

  • Some come to us, they're very genuine,

  • some are a little reserved, some are a little nervous.

  • They're all smiles, but what are they communicating?

  • My name's Joe Navarro.

  • And for 25 years I was a spy catcher for the FBI.

  • You may be familiar with my previous video,

  • I talked about body language.

  • There's just no Pinocchio effect.

  • And people who prattle that, and say, well,

  • we can detect deception because the person

  • touches their nose or covers their mouth.

  • That's just sheer nonsense.

  • And today we're going to focus on the face.

  • When it comes to non-verbals, the face is key.

  • There's so much information and feelings

  • that we receive from the face,

  • that for us, the face takes primacy.

  • So one of the ways to look at the face

  • is to think of it in two areas, comfort and discomfort,

  • because really that's how the brain reacts to the world.

  • So let's start with psychological comfort.

  • When we're very comfortable,

  • the muscles of the face become very relaxed,

  • and we have all the behaviors that are associated with it.

  • Smiling, laughing, usually the pupils are slightly wider.

  • The lips are full, and usually the chin

  • tends to be further out.

  • The very second that there's psychological discomfort,

  • usually it begins to register in several areas.

  • Now, for some people we'll see it in the forehead

  • and here between the eyes,

  • where there'll be furrowing of the forehead or squinting.

  • And of course, the tucking down of the chin.

  • Or, in some instances where something is really emotional,

  • you'll see the chin begins to vibrate.

  • Covering of the eyes also

  • is a display of psychological discomfort.

  • So our faces, what we feel in that moment

  • is immediately displayed by our non-verbals.

  • And the easiest way to look at it is,

  • is that behavior consistent with comfort,

  • or is it consistent with discomfort?

  • One of the questions that I'm often asked is,

  • how do we read each other?

  • How do we read each other's faces?

  • We start with the hair.

  • How it's combed, what color it is?

  • Is it dry, is it wet?

  • Is it curly, is it disarranged?

  • As children we play with each other's hair,

  • we look at each other's hair.

  • We immediately notice when it's wet, or dry,

  • or it's changed in some form.

  • We look at the forehead for information.

  • When it's smooth the forehead tells us

  • that everything is well and placid.

  • When it's furrowed, we begin to notice

  • that perhaps there's some sort of discomfort.

  • The eyebrows, the arching of the eyebrows

  • is our exclamation point.

  • Doing that eyebrow flash when we see someone,

  • we recognize them, we go, hey, how are you?

  • The glabella, this little area between the eyes.

  • Someone says something we don't like,

  • and we might squint at them and look at them askance.

  • The nose, do we wrinkle our nose upward?

  • We do that bunny nose.

  • At about three months of age

  • babies are already doing this one

  • when they don't like something they're being offered.

  • And then there's the lips, which convey so much information.

  • Maybe as often as the eyes, I'm asked about smiles.

  • We have the social smile.

  • The interested smile.

  • The curious smile.

  • We have little secretive smiles that we might give

  • to someone that we're interested in.

  • There is so much to our mouths, it's so expressive.

  • But starting at a very young age,

  • we're already focusing on these things.

  • You may not notice, for instance, the pupils,

  • whether they're wide or narrowed,

  • but subconsciously your brain is assessing this information.

  • There's just so much there.

  • So we never stop communicating with our faces.

  • It is something that is always telegraphing

  • our emotions, and our sentiments,

  • and sometimes even our desires.

  • [dynamic music]

  • One of the things that was startling to me

  • when studying faces was what I had

  • been picking up for decades.

  • When I look back on the Lone Ranger,

  • watching the movies of Zorro, or even Batman and Robin,

  • one of the things you notice is all these good guys

  • were wearing masks that covered the eyes,

  • but the bad guys always covered their mouths.

  • So the bank robbers would wear a bandana

  • and then just pull it over their faces.

  • Undoubtedly, we are being affected by the fact

  • that we cannot see the full face.

  • I mean, we first had reporting of this

  • right after World War I.

  • Where we saw the horrors of that war

  • and soldiers who had their faces somehow ameliorated,

  • they had to wear these masks.

  • And even with masks,

  • they still were not being received well into society.

  • And so there has always been something unsettling

  • about not being able to see the full face.

  • And I think it has to do with the fact

  • that we get so much information from there.

  • But even with masks,

  • we can still communicate with each other,

  • we can still understand what people are trying to say.

  • And you can pick up above the line of the mask.

  • Look at this clip, notice that

  • even though they're wearing a mask,

  • we can still see the emotions behind that mask.

  • We can still decode that face.

  • Now obviously, you're not gonna see lip compression,

  • but with some people you really see it both in the forehead

  • and in the glabella region of the eyes.

  • And then, of course, in the orbits of the eyes

  • there's a lot of squinting.

  • So for some people,

  • it doesn't matter that you can't see their mouth,

  • you'll certainly see it in their face.

  • But you know, the rest of the body

  • is transmitting information.

  • If we can't see the full face, where can we go?

  • The neck, the shoulders, right?

  • The hands, the fingers, the thumbs in particular, right?

  • So when we emphasize, the fingers are wide.

  • When we lack emphasis, our fingers come together.

  • Even our feet communicate sentiments.

  • So we have to redirect where we're getting information.

  • But always remember, that from the time we're born

  • we're looking at the face for that information.

  • We just have to be patient with ourselves

  • and know that there's still information out there,

  • we may just have to get it from other parts of the body.

  • [dynamic music]

  • A lot of us now are doing these video conferences,

  • Zoom, Google Meets, and so forth.

  • And the visual range has changed completely

  • because now we're only seeing maybe from the chest up,

  • maybe we're only seeing the face.

  • One of the things we know is that in face to face meetings,

  • this tends to be on a subconscious level, very aggressive.

  • So directly looking at another person

  • as I am now directly looking at the lens

  • is actually creating discomfort,

  • that we actually get greater comfort when we turn slightly,

  • it makes the other person relax.

  • And one of the mistakes that I'm finding on Zoom calls,

  • and Google Meets, and other environments,

  • is this very direct, intense look at the lens.

  • So one of the things that you can try,

  • next time you're on a video call,

  • is angle yourself and see if you find that more comfortable.

  • See if it's more relaxed.

  • See if in doing that behavior

  • that the other person then does the same thing.

  • They feel a little bit more relaxed,

  • maybe they lean back a little bit more.