ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (2): 211-220.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00211

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The application of microexpression in the detection of deception

SHEN Xunbing1; SUI Huajie1; FU Xiaolan2,3   

  1. (1 College of Humanities, Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Nanchang 330004, China) (2 State Key Lab of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China) (3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China)
  • Received:2016-03-03 Online:2017-02-15 Published:2017-02-15
  • Contact: FU Xiaolan, E-mail:


Microexpression is closely related to deception. The application of microexpression is an important topic in the field of deception detection. In the current review, the authors elucidate the concepts of deception and deception detection. Meanwhile, the principles of application of microexpression acted as a cue to deception are discussed; and some questions that need to be answered in the future are identified. Microexpression has several advantages over other kinds of cues to deception (e.g., physiological cues, cognitive cues). Research has shown that using microexpression in deception detection is feasible and effective. Microexpression has already been employed in the field of national security and clinical practice. However, there are still some debates on the application of microexpression. For example, is microexpression bound to happen while lying? Can training of microexpression recognition enhance the ability of deception detection? There is also no consensus on the external validity of the laboratory research of microexpression and the effects of individual differences on the application of microexpression. The questions aforementioned should be investigated in the future and the authors suggest some possible solutions to these arguments.

Key words: microexpression, deception, detection, national security