A Simple Way to Mind Read

A Simple Way to #Mind Read
When I wish to find out how wise, or how stupid, or how good, or how wicked is any one, or what are his thoughts at the moment, I fashion the expression of my face, as accurately as possible, in accordance with the expression of his, and then wait to see what thoughts or sentiments arise in my mind or heart, as if to match or correspond with the expression.
— Edgar Allen Poe, "The Purloined Letter"

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.


The above article was written by Josiah Hultgren, Founder of MindFullyAlive. The neuro-exercise above is by Mark Robert Waldman.  


Fashioning the Face: Sensorimotor Simulation Contributes to Facial Expression RecognitionWood, Adrienne et al.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences , Volume 20 , Issue 3 , 227 - 240

The faces we make are external representations of what we feel inside. There’s something to the idea that this also works in reverse and if you make an emotional expression, the associated emotions will follow.