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La mente mente, il volto no. Gli indizi dell’inganno nei rapporti interpersonali, negli affari, nella politica, nei Tribunali

Cinzia Gimelli


Thanks to the scientist Paul Ekman we are now able to assess the type of influence that our non-verbal behaviour has on other people: we can now judge the ability of people to send non-verbal signals and know how to interpret them. We recognize that information provided by words in some cases is contradicted and refuted by the non-verbal expressions that accompany it, and that, when one cannot use words, information can be communicated through non-verbal signs. The emotions are states of mind associated with physiological and psychophysiological changes, with internal or external stimuli, or with natural or learned behaviour. They are associated with mood, temperament, personality and disposition, and motivation. In most cases, lies can be detected because of signs of hidden emotions; the more intense and varied the emotions are, the more likely it is that a lie is unintentionally betrayed. The facial expressions and body language can reveal deep emotions: the presence of a specific emotional state is indicated by a shaky voice, an alteration of tone, a sunny smile, or a furrowed brow. Unlike ordinary expressions and gestures, it is difficult to hide micro-expressions and micro-gestures. Micro-expressions express the seven universal emotions: disgust, anger, fear, sadness, happiness, surprise, and contempt. In 1990 Paul Ekman expanded this list of basic emotions, including a range of positive and negative emotions, not all encoded in facial muscles. These emotions are amusement, contempt, embarrassment, excitement, guilt, pride, relief, satisfaction, pleasure, and shame. Micro-gestures are hard to conceal too, because every little movement is like a word that has a different meaning according to the use made of it in a ‘sentence’. Therefore, in order to analyze a gesture correctly one should keep in mind the context in which it is expressed.

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Bandler, R., J. Grinder (1976), The Structure of Magic I and II, Science and Behavior Books, Palo Alto, Ca.

Ekman, P. (1985), Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage, trad. it. I volti della menzogna. Gli indizi dell’inganno nei rapporti interpersonali, Firenze, Giunti, 2011.

Morris, E.K. (1982), “Some relationships between interbehavioral psychology and radical behaviorism”, Behaviorism, 10: 187-216.

Copyright (©) 2014 Linguæ & - Rivista di lingue e culture moderne – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie


Linguæ & - Rivista di lingue e culture moderne
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (06/04/2012 n. 185)
Online ISSN 1724-8698 - Print ISSN 2281-8952

Dipartimento di Scienze della Comunicazione, Studi Umanistici e Internazionali: Storia, Culture, Lingue, Letterature, Arti, Media
Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo

Editor-in-Chief: Roberta Mullini
Editorial Board: Maurizio Ascari - Stefano Beretta - Antonio Bertacca- Tania Collani - Chiara Elefante - Marina Guglielmi - Maryline Heck - Richard Hillman - Reinhard Johler - Stephen Knight - Cesare Mascitelli - Sonia Massai - Aurélie Moioli - Maria de Fátima Silva - Bart Van Den Bossche 

Editorial Staff: Margaret Amatulli - Alessandra Calanchi - Riccardo Donati - Ivo Klaver  - Massimiliano Morini - Antonella Negri - Luca Renzi

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