Developed by an influential US psychologist, the Micro-Expressions Training Tool (METT) inspired the hit television show Lie to Me, which focused on the character's uncanny ability to tell the truth from falsehood by analyzing tiny features , In practice, METT is used to train airport personnel to identify people who pose potential security risks.
However, a research project with a lecturer from the University of Huddersfield found that METT training did not improve detection rates beyond guesswork.
The verdict is reported in a new article concluding that the failure of METT is extremely problematic, "as training in the detection of micro-expressions forms a large part of a screening system that is becoming more prevalent in our aviation security is ".
METT is now part of the Screening of Passengers Following Observation Techniques (SPOT) deployed in airport security in the US. This meant that research into its effectiveness was critical, the authors of the article said.
One of them is the Reader of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Huddersfield. Chris Street, who specializes in detecting lies. He collaborated with colleagues at two US universities who had decided to carry out METT's first known complete test as a lie detection tool.
The findings are reported in an article in the Journal of Investigation Psychology and Offender Profiling .
METT-trained persons did not perform better
METT was written by psychologist Dr. Ing. Paul Ekman, whose research group was the inspiration for the television series Lie to I was with Tim Roth. It is a form of training aimed at improving the recognition of the micro-expressions sadness, anger, fear, disgust, contempt and happiness – fleeting expressions can last only half a second.
"Recognizing micro-expressions, perhaps having utility as a tool for better recognition of facial expressions, but promotes them more prominently as an aid to detecting delusions," according to the new article, which then states that his research "does not give an optimistic picture for the benefit of METT ".
The article describes the research process involving 90 students from a US university. Some were randomly selected to receive METT training, and others received the wrong "placebo" training or none. They were shown stimulus videos that contained truths and lies and come from five different deception detection studies. One of them was by Dr. med. Street and colleagues developed.
Subsequently, the participants' success rate in identifying the truth from lies was compiled. One of the findings was that METT-trained individuals did not perform better than those who were trained incorrectly or not at all, and in fact performed worse than chance – "guessing would have done slightly better."
Comment on the research project, Dr. med. Street said, "METT is something that most people in the field did not really do, and the Ekman group argues that these micro-expressions help you discover lies, but there was really no evidence for this effect." now is that it was put into government use in the US "
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Sarah Jordan et al., A Test of the Micro Expression Training Tool: Does It Improve the Detection of Lies?, Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling (2019). DOI: 10.1002 / jip.1532
Study Shows Errors in Leading Security Lies Detection Tool (2019, September 23)
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