I mentioned before reading Blink and becoming fascinated with studying facial emotion with the Facial Action Coding System (FACS). I'd played with some of the online tools like Artnatomy, but apparently full FACS training takes 80 hours and requires a bunch of video; you can't learn it from a book since you have to be trained to recognize fleeting subtle expressions and what they mean.
So I ordered a training CD from the lab of Paul Ekman, who is one of the researchers who developed FACS and it finally came.
Micro Expression Training Tool
While most facial expressions last for two or three seconds, micro expressions last a fraction of that -- 1/25th of a second. These are signs of emotions just emerging; emotions expressed before the person displaying them knows what he or she is feeling, or emotions the person is trying to conceal. You can learn to spot these micro expressions and have access to this valuable information.
Subtle Expression Training Tool
With SETT -- in under an hour -- you can train yourself to see very small facial movements that often appear in just one region of the face: the brows, eyelids, cheeks, nose or lips. These small movements may occur when an emotion begins gradually, when emotions are repressed or when a person is deliberately trying to eliminate any sign of how he or she is feeling, but a trace still remains.
Understanding the code-language of the face seems like a great way to improve communication, not to mention being able to spot lies, false smiles, contempt, and the like. This seems like it would be useful in business, relationships, all sorts of situations.
I just started working through the exercises on the CD today. We'll see how it goes. Unfortunately this CD isn't full FACS though, I may need to hunt around for additional training materials.