What He's Really Thinking
Is your husband still an emotional mystery to you? Unable to wrap your head around your teenager’s latest tiff? Understanding your own dizzy emotional roller coaster is tricky enough, let alone trying to be privy to that of other people. Luckily, new research reveals that a little practice can help.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, found that actors who had been trained to use imitation to perfect their acting skills were significantly more accurate at identifying emotions through facial expression than both regular folks and actors who had been trained in a different style.
These finding highlight the fact that reading emotions is something that can be learned—and mastered. “Our mind can shape the way in which we identify others’ emotion in a way similar to athletes,” says Massimiliano Conson, PhD, an associate professor at the Second University of Naples. Sports athletes use their motor expertise to make their bodies skilled at running, throwing, and catching. “Analogously, the same idea is related to our finding—that is, emotional training shapes our mind as sports training shapes our body.”
Dr. Conson further explains that you don’t need to be an Oscar-winning actress to start picking up on what others are putting out there. Becoming an expert at reading emotions is as simple as regularly getting into deep, emotionally meaty conversations—particularly when the other party is doing a whole lot of, well, emoting, Dr. Conson says. The more often you engage in these types of meaningful exchanges, the better you'll get at recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions.
Video: What he's REALLY thinking.
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