The above is from a story where a schoolboy reverse-engineers the psychology of others. He mimics their facial expressions to tune in to how they are thinking. This practice gives him a sixth-sense that helps him win guessing games.
We now have scientific evidence to show this technique can work. A recent paper by Paula Niedenthal of University of Wisconsin shows why it does.
In short, our expressions mirror our thoughts and feelings – and our expressions also trigger thoughts and feelings. It works both ways.
When you match the expressions of those you interact with, your experiences, thoughts, and feelings become more like theirs. Then, you have access to almost psychic insights about your interaction.
Fashioning the Face: Sensorimotor Simulation Contributes to Facial Expression RecognitionWood, Adrienne et al.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences , Volume 20 , Issue 3 , 227 - 240