Summer Reading for Social Engineers

It's summer time... Which means warm weather, margaritas, and lazy summer afternoons.  To help fill in the gaps, here is a list of classic readings for every social engineer. Nonverbal Communication Everyone agrees that nonverbal communication plays a huge role in social engineering.  Here are some of the original texts that changed the field of nonverbal communication. Silent Messages By: Dr. Albert Mehrabian Chances are you've probably heard someone say something like "words are only … [Read more...]

Five Tips for Reading Facial Expressions

Have you ever tried to figure out what it means when someone gives you "the look"?  Maybe they angry at something you did, or at something you didn't do.  Reading facial expressions is tricky, so here are 5 simple tips to make you a better "face reader". 1. Focus on emotions, specifically the basic emotions Quiz question: what is the facial expression of a liar? It's a trick question because there is no facial expression for "I'm lying to you". This highlights a classic beginner's … [Read more...]

A Facial Expression for Anxiety?

MedicalXpress is reporting on a paper that suggests a facial expression for anxiety: Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King's College London have, for the first time, identified the facial expression of anxiety. The facial expression for the emotion of anxiety comprises an environmental scanning look that appears to aid risk assessment. Per the abstract, researchers presented 8 volunteers with emotional scenarios and had them pose facial expressions. Photographs and videos … [Read more...]

Hotspot and Facial Expression Resources

Here are a couple of resources to help with recognizing hotspots and facial expressions of emotion. Humintell has compiled a list of videos with examples of microexpressions, hotspots, gestures, and emotions. Here at Social Exploits we've been slowly building a library of "interesting faces". The collection includes various facial expressions of emotion from a variety of cultures. If you have anything you'd like to see added to this list, let us know. … [Read more...]

What Are Facial Expressions?

Facial expressions are a vital part of communication. What's funny is that most people talk about facial expressions, but they don't really know what they are. This post examines what facial expressions are in the context of nonverbal communication. Facial Movements Before we can even get into what facial expressions are, we have to understand the idea of "facial movements". A facial movement is the movement of one or more facial muscles. For example the zygomatic major muscles contract to … [Read more...]

Practical Examples of Deception Detection

Deception detection is one of those things that requires a lot of practice. Not surprisingly, there is a lot of misinformation floating around the web. Perhaps the classic is "eye accessing cues" which supposedly tell you if someone is lying by the direction they are looking. (note: this isn't true) The reality is that there is no single "way" to tell if someone is being deceptive or not. If you're interested in what deception detection is like in the real world, the June edition of the FBI … [Read more...]

Three Mistakes People Make about the 7 Basic Emotions

Human beings have seven basic emotions: joy, sadness, fear, anger, disgust, contempt, and surprise. An emotion is a basic emotion if it has been scientifically demonstrated to be expressed and recognized the same by all cultures. In effect, a basic emotion has been shown to be associated with a specific set of facial expressions. This sounds simple in practice, but there are a lot of misconceptions that people have about the seven basic emotions. Here are three common ones that I've seen. 1. … [Read more...]