I like to think I’m pretty good at reading non-verbal cues. Not even by the typical-neurodivergent-person standards, but by typical standards too… I mean, as long as I don’t have to be part of the feedback loop; not only taking in the information but having to nod and smile and respond to others. Being just a casual observer and watching conversations or people by themselves from the outside when I’m not being noticed, I’m pretty alright at it. I actually got the highest in my uni class about personal intercommunication, which I recall finding very easy. Wow, two flexes in one sentence – lucky you!
Okay so if I’m in an interview I might not have the time to accurately see what the other person might think, but I’m… well.. okay. I might not be good at looking at photos of people and perceiving what emotion they’re trying to pull off – and yes I say trying because I’m CERTAIN the people pulling these faces and the apparent emotion is not the same. If you’re neurotypical and reading this (first off: hey, glad you’re here, I’m sure you thought this was a cryptid blog, I’m really sorry to disappoint you, secondly: please keep reading for a moment) please let me know if you fail the video above or any facial expression/emotion tests.
So yes, I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that this post is about facial expression recognition. I saw Paige’s video above in my recommendation and was really curious, so I grabbed a pen and a bit of paper and tried to play along and… I won’t repeat what I literally just said but, some of these did not appear to be whatever expression and emotion were trying to be conveyed!
So what’s happening?
In case you can’t watch the video, Paige has pictures of a man with different facial expressions and the ‘correct’ emotion for each. Showing them one by one, she says her answer and why she came to that conclusion – and I played along too!
If you want to play along and not be spoiled, don’t read any further.
Below are my answers, followed by the correct answer in bold. I think the idea is they’re supposed to be basic then get a bit trickier. Also want to say I tried to go with my first instinct before Paige said her answers, but she does bring up a great point that ‘when people are sad they don’t make these faces in real life’ which IS SO TRUE. Anyway:
1- Happy correct!
2- Sad correct
3- Scared fearful-correct (at this point, Paige started mimicking the faces to see it felt, which I was actually doing too for some of these)
4- Angry correct
5- Surprise correct
6- Disgust correct
7- Happy-excited happily surprised yes I was correct shh
8- “What?”/ Incredulous happily disgusted? Was I right?
9- Shocked? Freaked out? sadly fearful- what does that even MEAN?
10- Saw something bad/ trainwreck sadly angry????
11- Disbelief? sadly surprised? WHAT IS THIS???
11- Confused sadly disgusted
13- Disgust? fearfully angry- WHERE IS THE ANGER?
14- Nervous? fearfully surprised- isn’t that an oxymoron?
15- Scared fearfully disgusted
16- Appalled? angrily surprised- I mean close I guess???
17- “Don’t like” angrily disgusted- I MEAN CLOSE I GUESS
18- Cringe disgustedly surprised
19- Annoyed HATRED LMAO– please neurodivergents please tell me what you got for this and if things make sense now I’m dying to know
20- Shocked awed???? HOW??? HOWWWW????
This guy looked like he watched a car crash and fail videos for half of those pictures, I swear. And I hated it!
Like Paige said, I DOUBT anyone got these all correct, and it’s so dumb how this is still a tool being used in medical practices. I assure you many of us get context in some capacity, and even if we don’t, people don’t convey emotions and use their faces like this!
It was fun though, but the moral of the story, kids, don’t take these things seriously!