The feedback signals are transmitted via five communication channels

Facial expressions

Movement of more than 40 muscles in the face that combine to signal actual emotions and cognitive processes. Work undertaken by Darwin and other 19th century scientists has been advanced by Ekman and others so that now we know that all humans irrespective of race or color share 7 universal emotions. In addition, under some circumstances, these emotions [happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, contempt and surprise] can be given off involuntarily, in less than a quarter of a second revealing a person’s true feelings. Such fleeting images are referred to as micro facial expressions [MFE]. Evolution has dictated that the face is the clearest signal for emotional display.

Body language

The non-verbal signals, other than facial, that can reveal what we are thinking and feeling. The research literature in relation to body language and deception is not straightforward and is heavily influenced by cultural variables. Despite this, it can provide an illuminating insight into a person’s thought processes and emotions.


The tone which includes rhythm, speed, volume and pitch (RSVP) of what is said. Interestingly, the voice has in many respects become the dominant channel of communication. Conversational etiquette dictates that we listen more and talk less [although some are more successful than others!] and if there is a disagreement we often retort ‘But what you actually said was …’ As a result, we tend to pay too much attention to this channel and fail to recognize what is taking place elsewhere.

Verbal Style

The detail, structure, plausibility, contradictions, and flow of the words we say. If we know how someone normally responds if we know their baseline or normal operating behavior we will be very interested in any change from this baseline. Whilst change from baseline applies to all 5 channels it is particularly relevant in verbal style in relation to pauses or filled pauses, jargon, stuttering and repetitions or changes in pronoun usage and tone of voice.

Verbal Content

The words we say or write. Research in this area goes back many decades and continues to this day to seek a language or composition that can discriminate between a credible statement and a non-credible statement by virtue of the fact that the former is qualitatively and quantitatively different from the latter. This technique and analysis that is given in evidence in some countries in Europe and North America provides a language and structure to enable you to articulate what it is that you intuitively believe to be amiss when otherwise your vocabulary would fail you.

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