“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 about a kid who reverse-engineered the thoughts of others by mimicking their facial expressions.
His weirdo method gave him mind-reading abilities that let him succeed in guessing games.
We now have scientific evidence that this can work. A recent paper by Paula Niedenthal of University of Wisconsin shows how.
Our expressions mirror our thoughts and feelings – and our expressions trigger our thoughts and feelings.
It goes 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 what the hell their deal is.
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