Over the next few weeks, you are going to see a number of posts here on the site that are focused on furthering our understanding of the human face and what if can offer us as Profilers. For a long time in our course, we only provided a minimal amount of information about what the face reveals due to the fact there are some serious limitations involved in this study that we had to take into consideration.
1. To observe someone’s face, you usually have to be pretty close to the person, going against our principle that “Proximity Negates Skill.” Whenever possible, we advise students to observe an area or a group of people with as much standoff as possible to limit the potential threats that are out there. The closer we have to be in order to recognize someone who plans on doing harm to us, the less skill he needs to actually inflict that harm.
2.Often times true expressions are displayed on the face in what are referred to as micro-expressions. As the name implies, micro-expressions are only displayed on the face for only an extremely short amount of time. Paul Ekman identifies micro-expressions as those that last less than 1/5 of a second (Emotions Revealed, page 15). Without having any video playback capability on patrol, it can be difficult to identify these expressions in real time, limiting our ability to apply any instruction or information we may gain from learning about the face.
Even with these limitations, the face can offer a great deal of information that will help us make better decisions and become more proactive in the face of our enemies.
Like every topic we teach in the Tactical Analysis program, we provide you with the information we think is required for you to build a foundation for profiling that will allow you to build off of. After that, we then turn it over to you to keep studying if you want to take your skills to the next level or go more in depth on any of the individual topics.
We have found that some people are more inclined to identify and recognize “Geographics” immediately following a class, while other students find that they are more likely to observe “Proxemics,” while others may be adept at observing and reading “Kinesics.” Obviously, what a student’s strengths are and what they are likely to observe differ from student to student, but the point is that people will have some area of the course that they prefer over others.
It was with this understanding that we have begun to teach more information on facial expressions and emotions in our class and we have dedicated a section of video training on this site to recognizing facial expressions and determining if they fit our baseline or not. We’ve determined that we want to raise awareness of what the face offers and then provide you with as many resources as possible for self-study in case you are one of those people that is naturally inclined to or interested in reading a person’s face.
There are also some of you that visit our site that are in jobs that require a high level of face-to-face interaction with village elders, Afghan National Army/Police Officers, local teachers, religious leaders, etc every time you go on patrol and your ability to read facial expressions could have a very direct relationship in determining how successful you are in dealing with those situations. If that is your job, spending the time to develop your file folders before you deploy will increase the likelihood of you identifying these expressions in real time. We are in the process of building our video training library and the goal is to have a wide variety of videos available to you shortly.
So the reason you are going to see a ton of posts tied to the face over the next 2-3 weeks is because I am working my way through a certification on the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) that will help me analyze human facial expressions in those videos. Essentially, it is a course that is teaching me all of the different muscles and “Action Units” that are involved in any facial expression you could imagine. This certification will not only allow me to find better quality videos for the site but also let me say with a higher degree of legitimacy and certainty of the expressions that are involved (right now I have my observations double checked by an expert in the field who has earned the FACS certification).
In order to get the most out of this FACS course, I am taking an immersion approach to studying, where everything for me will be focused on the face – from what I am reading in my free time, to what I write for the site, to the way I watch TV, will be all about the face.
As we head into the holiday season, where those of us that are stateside right now will be spending our vacation time away from regular work duties, I recommend that you take a similar approach. Spend the next 2 or 3 weeks and consciously observe the faces of those that you interact with and begin expanding the file folders you already have built for the face. This will help you get the most out of your break while providing endless entertainment for you as you begin to see the changes that are occurring constantly on the faces of your friends and family.
Thoughts on the face? Let us know.
About The Author: Patrick Van Horne
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