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Sun, 25 Aug


The Banshee Labyrinth

Beatrice Johnston - Microexpressions: A Cautionary Tale...

Have you see the TV Show Lie To Me? Let's hear the truth behind Micro Expressions.

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Beatrice Johnston - Microexpressions: A Cautionary Tale...
Beatrice Johnston - Microexpressions: A Cautionary Tale...

Time & Location

25 Aug 2019, 19:20 – 20:20

The Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry St, Edinburgh EH1 1LG, UK

About the Event

 Skeptics on the Fringe Presents:

Beatrice Johnston - Microexpressions: A Cautionary Tale on the Consequences of Unchecked Research

Rockstar researcher Paul Ekman coined the term microexpressions in the late 90’s, to explain his findings of culturally universal and entirely involuntary facial expressions that lasted for microseconds. These brief flashes of emotion, visible only to the highly trained, or through the use of slow motion video equipment, were hailed as a major breakthrough in deception detection, as they could reveal the hidden emotions of individuals. Quickly, microexpression research was incorporated into many areas, such as forensic interview techniques and national security measures. 20 years later after millions of dollars of funding for microexpression programs, as well as a TV series centering around Ekman (Lie to Me), the results show that these techniques are no better at detecting lying than flipping a coin. This talk will investigate why microexpressions failed to perform as expected, and set the research in a wider context of the social science replication crisis.

Beatrice Johnston is currently a masters student at the University of Stirling, studying human behaviour and behavioural economics. She achieved her undergraduate at the University of Glasgow in Psychology. She has long been interested in human behaviour and social science, with a particular focus on how to how to apply scientific research findings to the betterment of people's everyday lives. She has conducted research on altruistic behaviours, specifically investigating the effects of the recipients age and gender, as well as research on pro-environmental and health behaviours. Her current research looks at the psychological underpinnings of vaccine hesitancy and other behaviours motivated by anti-scientific attitudes.

Similar events on the Fringe normally cost around £10 but all our Fringe events are free and non-ticketed. Entry is first-come-first-served basis and we will ask for a donation to help cover our costs. Your support is very welcome. Venue is strictly over-18 and access is via a narrow staircase. If you need help getting access, please let us know in advance (email and we will try to help. 

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