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Microexpressions - Are they reliable for reading people?

I have been curious about the topic of microexpressions.
They have been mixed reviews in the literature.

This article mentions that microexpressions are an unreliable way to catch liars.
Microexpressions Are Not the Best Way to Catch a Liar

While this research claims that microexpressions are what differentiates truths from lies
Microexpressions Differentiate Truths From Lies About Future Malicious Intent

There are also online courses dedicated to teaching microexpressions
PaulEkmanGroup - Micro Expressions Training

Vanessa Van Edwards with her flagship product recommended on this website also has a course on lie detection via microexpressions
Science of People - Lie Detection Training Course by Vanessa Van Edwards

Has anyone done sufficient research in this area?
I have been reading around but can't seem to draw a conclusion on whether it's an effective tool.

I'm also interested in a related but different topic.
Social cues to catch liars.
Microexpressions would be one such cue to possibly catch liars.
Maybe I could open another thread.

I'm also curious, but when I don't see:

  1. Good science
  2. Actual life utility

But I see a lot of:

  • Marketing

I'm usually quite skeptical.

To begin with, if it worked, and this stuff is pretty old now, why isn't there any paper, or any individual, where someone who's good at microexpressions can spot lies with, say, a 90%+ accuracy rate?

And what's this great life utility at being able to say "oh, he had a microexpression of anger"?
Does that mean he was angry?
Like maybe he was angry, or for sure?
Depending on reliability, it might be good information.
But it pales in comparison to your ability to assess general characters.

My personal point of view is that it's better to look at the macro than at the micro: easier to spot, more useful in real life, and proven.
John Gottman can spot with a 90%+ accuracy rate the couple who are going to divorce.
And that means he can probably spot with a 99%+ accuracy the "shitty" relationships, a skill that IS extremely useful in life, and that can be acquired relatively easy by increasing your awareness of social and power dynamics -something we're all learning here, with power dynamics-.

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
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